Poland, Belgium end evacuation of Afghanistan when clock stops


Poland, Warsaw — Poland and Belgium have finished their evacuation from Afghanistan, but other European countries will clock on Wednesday the dramatic airlift of those fleeing Taliban rule prior to the full US withdrawal. I vowed to press as long as possible.

President Joe Biden said he would meet his August 31 deadline to complete the US withdrawal.

European allies sought more time, but in practice they would need to finish their evacuation before the last US troops left. Some countries do not say when they plan to end their activities.

The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan about 20 years after being expelled in a US-led aggression following the 9/11 attacks organized while al-Qaeda was protected by the group. Their return to power fled many Afghans for fear of retaliation and the possibility of a return to their brutal rule.

Late Wednesday, the US Embassy warned US citizens to leave immediately at three airport gates due to unspecified security threats. Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand also advised citizens not to go to “very high threat of terrorist attacks” airports on Thursday morning.

Australia is helping about 4,000 people evacuate, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison pointed out that the situation is becoming more and more dangerous. “The risks and those risks are increasing every day, as we have always known, so we are in a hurry,” he added.

The Taliban said it would allow normal civil air traffic to resume if it took control of the airport after August 31, but whether airlines are willing to fly to airports controlled by terrorists. Is unknown.

As the deadline approached, Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said Poland had evacuated the last group. “We can no longer endanger the lives of diplomats and soldiers,” Przydacz said.

According to Przydacz, many troops will remain temporarily to organize the operation. Poland has used more than 12 planes to take hundreds of evacuees to Warsaw. Some later traveled to other countries.

A few hours later, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Crew said his country had completed an evacuation flight carrying people from Kabul to Pakistan. “Belgium will continue to repatriate those who have been evacuated to our country,” said De Crew. Over 1,100 people are flying to Belgium.

The Czech Republic declared last week that its own evacuation mission had been completed, and Hungary said it would soon end its activities.

“These evacuation are a real race against time because of the extreme tensions on the ground … and the scheduled departure of the U.S. military,” French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday. rice field. He said evacuation of his country is likely to end “hours, perhaps days before” the departure of the United States.

Evacuation of Afghanistan
On August 24, 2021, U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron sent people evacuating from Afghanistan to the U.S. Air Force C-17 at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Load on Globemaster III. Sgt. Donald R. Allen / US Air Force via AP)

The White House said Wednesday that about 19,000 people had fled Kabul in the last 24 hours. Since the takeover of the Taliban in mid-August, the United States has said it has promoted the evacuation or evacuation of about 82,300 people.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said as many as 1,500 Americans could be waiting for evacuation. This suggests that some US-led airlifts could be completed before Tuesday’s deadline. The State Department estimated that when airlift began on August 14, about 6,000 Americans wanted to leave.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the military “will continue to evacuate the population it needs to the end.” But he added that Kabul’s 5,400 troops and important systems also need to be withdrawn, so a balance needs to be made in the last few days and hours.

In Kabul itself, life is slow to return to normal, but many people, especially women, remain inside for fear of the Taliban and general instability.

Kabul Mayor Dawood Sultanzoy said many city workers have not yet returned to work because of the lack of experienced staff, which interferes with normal operations. But he said the city had begun to remove the blast walls that have become ubiquitous in recent years as the Taliban and other militants bombed and other attacks on Western-backed governments.

The Taliban say the decades of war are over and there will be no revenge attacks on those who oppose them. However, with reports of summary executions and other abuses, many Afghans fear the return of the Taliban to hard-line Islamic rule in the 1990s, when women were primarily trapped in their homes.

The chaos at Kabul Airport changed the world after the Taliban occupied most of Afghanistan within the next few days of this month. Afghans poured into the tarmac last week, some sticking to U.S. military transport planes during takeoff, and later plunging to death. At least seven people died that day, and another seven died in a panicked stampede on Sunday.

Afghanistan clinging to an airplane
On August 16, 2021, hundreds of people were flying along the US Air Force’s C-17 transport plane as they traveled along the runway at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Check UGC via AP)

Since then, thousands of people have rushed to the airport, and the United States and its allies have worked to expedite evacuation, sometimes skipping people and taking them to transit points before the documents are fully processed. On Wednesday, 51 people landed in Uganda, the first African country to act as a transit point.

So far, the US military is coordinating all air traffic to and from Kabul Airport. Taliban spokesman Skhail Shaheen tweeted that “people with legal documents” could take off from Kabul Airport on a commercial flight after the August deadline.

On Wednesday, a stream of military aircraft took off from the airfield as evacuees lined up at the tarmac. Desperate people stayed outside, some kneeling in the sewers and waving ID cards to Western soldiers in the hope of boarding a plane over the barbed wire fence.

Analyst Patricia Lewis said the final withdrawal date was less than a week, but the actual deadline for stopping evacuation is the “next few days.”

Lewis, who is responsible for the international security program at Chatham House, an international think tank, said: ..

“All allies rely heavily on the United States for military coverage, especially aerial coverage,” Lewis said. “It really depends on when the United States begins packing, as they can’t put their own people at risk.”

Associated Press