Homeland Security refused entry to a Kabul evacuation plane carrying more than 100 US citizens and green card holders, report says

US Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
  • Homeland Security refused to let an evacuation flight from Kabul land in the US, Reuters reported.
  • The flight was carrying more than 100 Americans and US green card holders, including 59 children.
  • The plane was still waiting in Abu Dhabi as of Wednesday morning, an activist group said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Department of Homeland Security stopped an evacuation flight from Kabul carrying more than 100 US citizens and green card holders from landing in the United States this week, Reuters reported, citing an activist group.

The private charter plane from Kam Air, which was organized by the nonprofit Project Dynamo, arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, the report said.

It was carrying 28 Americans, 83 green card holders, and six Afghans who were granted US Special Immigration Visas for working with the US government, Reuters reported. Fifty-nine of the passengers were children, Project Dynamo said in a Tuesday press release.

"Today's triumph is ending in tragedy. After initial approval, the US Government is now denying entry into the US for our American passengers aboard Dynamo 01," Project Dynamo said in a Tuesday Instagram post.

"These Americans are being denied entry into THEIR OWN COUNTRY by the US."

A post shared by PROJECT DYNAMO (@projectdynamo)

The plane was still in Abu Dhabi as of Wednesday morning, Project Dynamo said.

The group's founder, Bryan Stern, told Reuters he initially planned to transfer the passengers to an Ethiopian Airlines plane for an onward flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York - a journey he said the US Customs and Border Protection had cleared.

But this was suddenly changed to Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, before Stern was then told that the plane wasn't allowed to arrive anywhere in the US, he said.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

An anonymous Biden administration official told Reuters they were unfamiliar with the matter and that documents needed to be verified before a plane is cleared to land - a process that usually takes time.

Stern told Reuters he had obtained permission from the Taliban-run Afghan Civil Aviation Authority to send the evacuation plane to Kabul, and that he was frustrated he couldn't enter the US after a more than 14-hour wait in Abu Dhabi.

"I have a big, beautiful, giant, humongous Boeing 787 that I can see parked in front of us," he said, according to Reuters. "I have crew. I have food."

According to its website, Project Dynamo is "committed to honoring the promise made to civilians in Afghanistan that aided the United States over the last two decades."

The US has evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan since August 14, the day before the Taliban seized control of Kabul, according to a tracker by Sky News.

It is unclear how many have been able to leave since the August 31 deadline for total military withdrawal.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that he could not provide a number of how many Americans are left in Afghanistan, saying the figure "fluctuates daily," per CNN.

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