Dangerous evacuations continue at Kabul airport

Inaccessible by the Taliban, a German civilian who was shot: an air bridge has been mobilized since Sunday, in chaotic conditions, for planes from all over the world to evacuate diplomats, other foreigners and Afghans fleeing a country that has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.

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Les États-Unis, qui prévoient d’évacuer plus de 30 000 Américains et civils afghans via leurs bases au Koweït et au Qatar, ont déjà acheminé plus de 9000 personnes depuis le début des opérations d’évé d’équé, 14 White House.

In total, the US has evacuated nearly 14,000 people since the end of July. They include US citizens, US embassy members, and Afghans who have worked for the United States.

On Friday, NATO called on the Taliban to allow people wishing to be evacuated to leave Afghanistan and for its member states to remain “closely cooperating” in the evacuations.

This joint declaration by the 30 NATO countries comes at the end of an urgently convened video conference in which foreign ministers participated to discuss evacuations and the next steps to be taken.

A Czech military pilot returning from Kabul described the difficult conditions for air maneuvers with Afghanistan, without real air control, without a potential on-site kerosene supply and risky take-offs.

Amidst the heavy traffic over Kabul, “we had to keep a distance in the air and land one behind the other. The MM commander explained that we were looking for frequencies to communicate with each other.”

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German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said a German civilian was shot on his way to the airport, but his life was not in danger and would be evacuated.

Berlin plans to deploy two helicopters to secure evacuations, or even assist individuals in “dangerous situations” or remote locations. The German government reported that the German military has so far transported more than 1,600 people to safety.

It is very difficult to get people to the airport, especially if they only have an Afghan passport. “The Taliban have tightened their control over many military checkpoints, and it is difficult for many countries for people to cross,” Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said.

The Dutch government wants to take back 700 Dutch people who had gone to Afghanistan “on a family visit,” the minister specified, Dutch news agency ANP reported. In addition, the government is trying to evacuate Afghans who worked for the Netherlands.

A plane carrying about 180 evacuees is expected to arrive in Amsterdam on Friday afternoon.

103 people on a C130J military transport plane have taken off from Kabul to Kuwait, where they will be flown to Italy, according to the Italian government.

Another 104 Afghans are expected to arrive at Rome airport on a chartered plane provided by the Italian non-profit Nove Onlus association.

According to the government, about 900 Afghans have been evacuated from the country since June, including about 800 who have been relocated to Italy.

Finland says it has evacuated 34 people.

Austria, which does not have its own evacuation means, managed to evacuate two of its citizens, while another 85 Austrians and Afghans who were staying in Austria and seeking to flee remained stranded there.

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Belgium has scheduled four flights on Friday to evacuate Kabul.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland will be responsible for the evacuation of 300 Afghan nationals who have worked in recent years with NATO.

In addition, 130 evacuees from Afghanistan have already arrived in Poland and another hundred are expected on Friday night, according to the government.

All Polish citizens who contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were evacuated.

110 people were evacuated by military plane to Dubai, and then by plane to the Torrejon de Ardoz military base (northeast of Madrid), where it is expected early in the evening. These are mainly Afghan employees of the Spanish Embassy and their families. All Spanish subjects have already been repatriated.

This military base, which was visited on Friday by the EU’s top leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, serves as a reception center for Afghan employees of EU institutions who were leaked from Kabul.

The Ministry of National Defense announced Thursday evening that two Canadian military aircraft will rotate towards Kabul to return Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Afghan citizens.

“Now that the airport is back in US and international control, we can regularly send Canadian military planes to take people out of Afghanistan,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

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