WASHINGTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) – A group of more than 150 U.S.-trained Afghan pilots and other personnel are preparing to depart Tajikistan on Tuesday on a flight arranged by the U.S. government, two of the pilots and others close to them told Reuters, after a nearly three-month detention ordeal that has drawn U.S. congressional scrutiny.
The Afghans have spent a full day waiting at the airport in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, for a flight that appears to have been delayed. They are hoping it will not be canceled and they’ll depart before the end of the day.
“We hope to go out soon,” one of the Afghans told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. embassy in Dushanbe could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Afghans arrived in Tajikistan after flying there in advanced military aircraft at the end of the war in Afghanistan. They were detained by Tajik authorities and have been awaiting a U.S. relocation ever since — hoping to move to a third country for eventual U.S. resettlement.
Reporting by Phil Stewart
Editing by Peter Graff
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