The first international flight since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan takes off from the international airport in Kabul. West Asia News Agency via REUTERS

As the first commercial flight with evacuees left Kabul on Thursday, Rep. Darrell Issa claimed “hundreds of citizens” are effectively held hostage in Afghanistan.

“Reports that Americans are boarding flights from Afghanistan today is welcome news, but also a stark reminder that President Biden brought tens of thousands of Afghans to America that we don’t know and stranded hundreds of citizens he promised to bring home,” said Issa, a Republican who represents the 52nd District in East County.

He said there is a “hostage crisis” in the country and accused the White House of misleading the nation about those left behind in Aghanistan.

“Enough double-talk from the White House. Enough guesswork from its press secretary,” Issa said. “The Congress shouldn’t wait one more day for this administration to inform the nation how many Americans it knows are in Afghanistan and the immediate plan to return them safely to their country.”

Issa’s criticism of the Biden administration came as 113 people left Kabul on a Qatar Airways flight to Doha. Reuters reported that the passengers included U.S., Canadian, Ukrainian, German and British citizens.

A source said 30 U.S. citizens and permanent residents were invited to join the flight out but not all had accepted.

Qatari special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani described Thursday’s flight as a regular one and not an evacuation. There would also be a flight on Friday, he said.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.