The Biden administration has reached an agreement with Uzbekistan to transfer a group of Afghan military pilots to a U.S. military base, a U.S. newspaper says.
The Taliban-led Afghan government is pressuring Uzbekistan to turn the pilots and their equipment over to Kabul, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The pilots flew their families to Uzbekistan aboard Afghan military aircraft to escape the Taliban, who quickly overran government forces last month as the United States pulled its troops out of Afghanistan.
The United States fears the pilots could be killed if they were returned to their country.
Military pilots are believed to be among the members of the Afghan forces most despised by the Taliban for the carnage they wrought from the air, the paper said.
At the same time, Uzbekistan doesn't want tense relations with its militant neighbor and has asked the United States to resolve the problem quickly.
According to the paper, the pilots and their families -- a total of 585 people -- will first be flown to the U.S. military base in Doha, Qatar, on the weekend of September 11-12 for processing.
They will then be sent to live permanently in other countries. It was still not clear how many, if any at all, would be sent to the United Staets, the newspaper said.
The State Department declined to comment, the paper said.
The Wall Street Journal said the fate of the 46 aircraft flown by the pilots to Uzbekistan -- including U.S.-supplied Black Hawks, PC-12 surveillance aircraft, and Soviet-era MI-17s -- still remains unclear.