Poland suspends airlift in Afghanistan over safety as US deadline approaches


Warsaw, Poland — Poland has finished its evacuation from Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, the first western side to stop working to help people escape the Taliban takeover as a complete US withdrawal is imminent. One of the countries.

President Joe Biden announced yesterday that he would meet the August 31 deadline to complete the U.S. withdrawal, increase pressure on already dangerous airlift from Kabul, and expel as many people as possible in the next few days. bottom. European allies sought more time but lost debate, and in practice they may be forced to end their evacuation a few days before the last US troops left.

The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan almost 20 years after being expelled in a US-led aggression following the 9/11 attack. Their return to power has fled many Afghans for fear of retaliation from terrorists and a return to the brutal rules they imposed when they last operated the country.

The Taliban argued that the airlift had to end on August 31st. Biden’s decision to stay longer could rekindle the war between hardline Islamic groups and the US and other Allied forces carrying airlift at Kabul Airport.

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said a group of people currently taken from Kabul in Uzbekistan had been last evacuated by Poland. He said his country had decided not to continue its activities after consulting with US and British officials.

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On August 24, 2021, during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, a child sees an aircraft while walking towards an airplane. (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz / US Marine Corps via AP)

“After a lengthy analysis of security reports, 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.

The Czech Republic last week declared its own evacuation mission completed.

The chaos at Kabul Airport has disrupted the world after the Taliban’s entire Afghanistan blitz, which has taken control of a country that has received hundreds of billions of dollars in reconstruction and security assistance since the US-led invasion in 2001. rice field.

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. Members of Afghan security forces were killed on Monday in a gun battle under uncertain circumstances.

Since then, thousands have rushed to the airport, and the United States hastened to evacuate as many people as possible, relying on the temporary escape of Afghanistan and others to be accommodated in the Gulf Arab allies. is. On Wednesday, a group of 51 people landed in Uganda. Uganda has become the first African country to accept evacuees.

European nations, including US allies Germany and the United Kingdom, have sought a longer period to continue their evacuation beyond next week’s deadline. CIA Secretary William Burns visited Kabul on Monday to meet the Taliban’s best political leaders. But Biden is sticking to the August date, even after the emergency online summit of groups in seven countries.

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Afghanistan will board the US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft while evacuating at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan on August 22, 2021. (US Air Force via Reuters)

“It was clear that the overall development was literally in the position of the United States, the strongest military ally,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech in parliament.

“We will continue to evacuate as much as possible to allow Afghans who have worked with us for security, freedom, the rule of law and development to leave the country.” She added.

She did not give a date as to when the last German evacuation flight would depart, but even after that effort was over, the country “could continue to protect the people we helped us with. How can we make the way we can, other things by private use of Kabul Airport. “

So far, the US military is coordinating all air traffic to and from Kabul Airport. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen wrote on Twitter that he plans to allow people to fly from Kabul Airport on commercial flights after the August deadline.

However, it was unclear which commercial airline would soon resume flights to the Taliban’s fully controlled airport.

The final deadline is just over a week, but analyst Patricia Lewis said the actual deadline for stopping evacuation is the “next few days.”

Lewis, Head of International Security Program at Chatham House International Affairs Think Tank, said: “There’s a lot to do, including getting everyone out and all the equipment out.”

“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.”

By Monika Scislowska

Associated Press