(USA Features) The Biden administration is information American citizens currently trapped in Afghanistan that they will have to reimburse the government for being transported out of the country.
Though earlier in the day Thursday administration officials said they had no intention of charging citizens to be taken out of Afghanistan, “as of Thursday evening they could have to pay more than $2,000 to board an evacuation flight out of the country,” The Daily Caller reported.
Previously, the State Department told the media that no charges would be levied.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has said in numerous security advisories since Monday that any American citizen who wants to leave must complete an online form in order to book a repatriation flight.
“This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options,” the embassy said in a security advisory Wednesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told the Daily Caller News Foundation and other media outlets late Thursday afternoon that the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.”
But the online form American citizens must fill out to get a flight, as of Thursday evening, still said that in order secure a flight travelers would have to pay their own way.
“Repatriation flights are not free,” Question 14 of the form stated when accessed by the DCNF around 10 p.m. Thursday, hours after Price issued his statement.
“All passengers will need to reimburse the U.S. Government for the flight. A promissory note for the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2000 per person, must be signed by each adult passenger before boarding,” the form stated.
“No cash or credit card payments will be accepted,” the form added.
Question 15 of the form notes that any American who can’t afford the thousands of dollars in fees can sign a loan agreement to be responsible for paying the costs at a later date.
The form says that Americans can use their passports as collateral for the loan.
“The top of the form states that the information collected will be used by the U.S. Embassy to facilitate travel back to the United States for those fleeing the ‘security situation’ in Afghanistan,” The Daily Caller report added.
Earlier Thursday, Politico reported that witnesses on the ground in Afghanistan saw that the State Department was charging U.S. citizens who had managed to make their way past heavily armed Taliban checkpoints into the international airport in Kabul.
The charges were upwards of $2,000 in order to get aboard evacuation flights, according to the outlet.
Politico added that the State Department at the time did not deny that it was charging repatriation fees for Americans seeking to escape the chaotic country.
The report led to a great deal of criticism of the Biden administration, which has already come under fire for stranding thousands of Americans amid a botched withdrawal earlier in the week.