Saturday, September 18

Last hours in Kabul: evacuations from European countries end


Time is running out in Kabul. Evacuations of thousands of foreigners and Afghans who worked with Western nations during the 20-year war are entering the home stretch in the face of the imminent withdrawal of US troops and as several countries join the US warnings that the threat The terrorist is “real” and persistent “at the airport, where thousands of desperate people have swarmed in recent days since the Taliban victory.

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The deadline for the US to remove all its military from Afghanistan, which controls the airport, remains August 31, which is putting pressure on governments to end their operations before the deadline expires. As explained this Wednesday by the Belgian Defense Minister, Ludivine Dedonder, Washington has asked the allies to finish “as soon as possible” and ordered them to make this Friday, August 27, the day on which the evacuations.

Some European countries have already ended the operations, and others plan to conclude them in the next few hours, on many occasions citing a serious worsening of the security situation at the airport.

Several countries conclude their operations

Poland has officially terminated the evacuation of civilians by its government, as has Denmark, whose authorities consider that it is “no longer safe to fly” to or from the Afghan capital, as the head of Defense, Trine Bramsen. The last flight took off on Wednesday with 90 passengers and, according to Bramsen, there are no longer any Danish military personnel in Afghanistan.

A day earlier, this Wednesday, the Belgian federal government also announced that it had ended the evacuations. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has justified his decision by the high risk of terrorist attacks at the airport. The last Belgian flight with the last workers on the ground landed overnight in Islamabad this Wednesday. According to the president, Belgian forces have evacuated more than 1,400 people, many of whom are still in the Pakistani capital waiting to be transferred to Belgium. De Croo has argued that the end of the Belgian presence in Afghanistan “does not mean that this is the end of support for the people who are still there.”

Hungary has completed evacuation tasks after removing 540 people from the country, including US citizens, Afghans, Austrians and Hungarians. “The operation is over,” Defense Minister Tibor Benkö told the press on Thursday.

The Netherlands plans to finish this Thursday

The Government of the Netherlands has confirmed that it will charter its last evacuation flights from Afghanistan this Thursday and has assured that, due to the “deterioration” of security, “it can no longer be helped” people to access the Kabul airport and only Those that are already inside the aerodrome will be able to get on the airplanes. “The United States informed the Netherlands that it has to leave Afghanistan today”, said the Dutch Foreign Minister, Sigrid Kaag, who stressed that the situation at the airport in the Afghan capital is dangerous and the accesses are closed .

“This is a painful moment because it means that, despite all the great efforts of these days, the people eligible for evacuation to the Netherlands will be left behind,” Kaag said in a letter to the Dutch Parliament, according to the EFE agency. . A Dutch plane, with a small team of soldiers, will remain in the region until August 31 and “can be deployed quickly if opportunities arise to get more people from Kabul to safety.” As of Wednesday, the Netherlands had evacuated to more than 1,200 people in the Asian country.

France will conclude this Friday

France has announced that it will end the evacuations this Friday. “Starting tomorrow night, we will no longer be able to carry out evacuations,” Prime Minister Jea Castex told RTL radio. Then the French military dealing with the device will have to leave Kabul airport. Until now, French diplomacy had mentioned Thursday night, pick up Le Monde.

“We have repatriated the French, the Afghans who have contributed in one way or another to the army and families, artists, journalists, some 2,500 people,” said Castex. “There will be a second phase that we will manage with the other European countries and the international community, in particular UNHCR [la Agencia de la ONU para los Refugiados], for refugees who will leave Afghanistan in the future. ”

And the rest of the countries?

As has advanced The country, Spain also plans to end the evacuation of Afghans who have collaborated with the Armed Forces this Friday.

According to the online version of the magazine Der sppiegel, collected by the Deutsche Welle chainGermany may charter its last flight from Kabul this Thursday, although other sources speak of Friday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the end of the current airlift in Afghanistan in a few days “cannot be the end of efforts to get people in need of protection out of the country.”

British troops are making final attempts to airlift at least the remaining 1,500 interpreters and others who have supported Britain. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace has not clarified an exact time for the country’s final evacuation flight amid speculation that it could take place on Thursday, informs The Guardian. Defense sources explained to the British media on Tuesday night that there were only between 24 and 36 hours to complete the evacuation.

“What we do not want is to unleash a wave or a stampede and we have already seen a number of people killed,” the defense minister told the deputies. “I can’t give you an exact time. It’s not much, the position we’re in is really difficult.”

Meanwhile, fears continue that thousands of people in distress could be trapped in Afghanistan. As described The Guardian, there is a growing sense of despair among the crowds that have been waiting outside the airport since the beginning of the week, and the tension is mounting. There are those who are beginning to lose hope at the information that the operations are ending, and others say that they have given up and will return home.

It is difficult to estimate the number of Afghans who will not be able to be evacuated. As reported The New York Times, US officials are reluctant to offer an estimate of how many people would need to be rescued and how many might be left behind. Experts quoted by the newspaper estimate that at least 300,000 Afghans are in imminent danger for having collaborated with the Americans in the past.

Several governments, including Spain, have recognized that it will not be possible to remove everyone and countries such as the United Kingdom have been carrying out “unceremonious” screening at the airport, prioritizing the uploading of their citizens on their planes.

In an interview with elDiario.es, Amnesty International’s campaign manager on Afghanistan was critical of the deadline for evacuations and called for a safe exit for human rights defenders.

“The situation will be very worrying if they abandon many people who will continue to be in danger and who will continue to need to be evacuated. We call for a humanitarian corridor and humanitarian support for people in need of care, for example internally displaced people in Afghanistan due to the conflict. And We call on humanitarian organizations, especially UN organizations, to accelerate their resources and provide support to these vulnerable groups ”.



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