(Kabul) – The evacuation of diplomats, foreigners and other Afghans to Kabul, which is in the hands of the Taliban, continues in difficult conditions.
A giant air bridge has since Sunday mobilized a string of planes from around the world, at an airport near it that is tightly controlled by the Taliban.
Berlin sends 600 soldiers to Kabul
Germany has already released 500 people, including 202 Afghans, and has also agreed to send 600 soldiers to Kabul, to support the evacuation of “as many people as possible”, until September 30 at the latest.
A new Afghan trip to France
French flights continue across the Emirates, with more than 200 people arriving in Paris on Thursday, the vast majority of whom are Afghans. The first Afghans rescued from France arrived in Paris on Wednesday evening.
“We are identifying a number of very urgent needs; perhaps we are talking about a few thousand people to be smuggled,” French Minister of State for European Affairs Clément Bowen said on Thursday.
He said that France would be “at the time of offering asylum” to the threatened Afghans, referring to the “possibility” of holding an extraordinary European summit.
Washington and London evacuated thousands of people
The United States, which plans to evacuate more than 30,000 Americans and Afghan civilians through its bases in Kuwait and Qatar, has already moved more than 7,000 people since the evacuations began on August 14.
In total, nearly 12,000 people have been evacuated since the end of July. They include US citizens, US embassy members, and Afghans who worked in the US, particularly as interpreters for the US military, who applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for fear of Taliban reprisals.
But the US State Department says the Taliban are breaking their promises and “preventing Afghans who want to leave the country from getting to the airport.” The United States sent 6,000 soldiers to secure Kabul Airport.
The UK, for its part, has evacuated 306 Britons and 2,052 Afghans.
The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) called on the Taliban to ensure the “safety” of foreigners and Afghans who wish to leave Afghanistan.
Air bridges to other countries
Spain began the first series of exercises with three military aircraft via Dubai. On Thursday morning, the first plane carrying 50 Afghans and some Spaniards arrived. A fourth plane to bring back the Spaniards and the Afghans left on Thursday from Kabul in Zaragoza in northeastern Spain bound for Dubai.
Turkey, which has already taken in 324 of its citizens on Monday, plans to return “more than 200” from Kabul on Wednesday.
Other domestic and/or Afghan departures have already taken place since last weekend, in particular to the Netherlands, Poland (a second plane arrived on Thursday), Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria.
The first evacuation flight bound for Kabul, carrying 35 Dutch, Belgian, British and German nationals, landed on Wednesday evening at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The German Foreign Ministry thanked in particular the Netherlands for evacuating 69 of its citizens.
Another plane carrying the Dutch ambassador, an emergency consular team and 62 soldiers landed in Kabul on Wednesday evening “to carry out as many evacuations as possible”.
Fifteen Romanians could not reach Kabul airport and the plane they sent left their country with only one citizen.
Denmark has smuggled about 320 people from Kabul.
More than 200 Afghans have arrived in Rome
Two hundred and two Afghans landed Thursday at Fiumicino, Rome’s airport, with human rights activist Zahra Ahmadi in the group and staff of the Veronese Foundation (the foundation once ran a cancer center in Herat, and is now a company).
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