(Kabul) At Kabul airport, a race is underway against the time to immediately evacuate as many foreigners and Afghans as possible who want to flee Afghanistan before August 31, the deadline set by the Taliban for the departure of US troops.
Many civilians have died in scenes of panic and despair at the airport, the only exit door in the country since the Taliban returned to power on August 15.
The German army announced on Monday morning that an Afghan guard had been killed in a clash with unidentified assailants and that German and U.S. troops were involved in a “subsequent exchange of fire”.
The Taliban have warned that they will not agree to extend the evacuation after August 31, when the United States directs the final withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. U.S. President Joe Biden, under pressure from his allies, opened the door to keep troops there beyond that date.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen responded: “If the United States or the United Kingdom ask for more time to continue the evacuation, there is no answer. Or there will be consequences.”
Germany announced on Monday that it was in talks with the United States, Turkey and other partners to keep Kabul airport open for evacuation after August 31.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also expressed concern about the “deadline”. Additional time is required to complete ongoing operations. ”
To expedite the evacuations, the United States has requested flights from private companies that will not depart from Kabul, but will assist in shipping to third countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
“Impossible in Mathematics”
Thousands of people have already been deported on a plane sent by Western nations to evacuate their nationals, diplomatic staff and Afghan civilians who worked with them and their families.
Nearly 11,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan through Kabul airport in the past 12 hours and 53,000 since July, the White House said Monday.
Mr Biden said last week that the United States wanted to evacuate all Americans (between 10,000 and 15,000) and hoped to do the same for its Afghan allies and their families (between 50,000 and 65,000).
“Americans want to get 60,000 out by the end of the month, which is mathematically impossible,” European diplomat Joseph Borel said on Saturday.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday, “We hope we have time by August 31 to prepare all those who want to leave the United States.
The Taliban on Sunday blamed Washington for the chaos at the airport. “It must end as soon as possible,” said Amir Khan Mutaki, a senior Taliban official.
The role of the Gulf countries
More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar, according to the Gulf state. Emirates said they facilitated the departure of 8,500 people by their own planes or their airports.
The country allowed the evacuation of 850 American citizens and diplomatic personnel in the United States, according to the United States Ambassador in Kuwait on Sunday.
Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air has announced commercial flights from its ISA air base to Washington.
In addition, Jordan approved the transport of 2,500 Afghans deported from Kabul to join the United States.
Wind rotations in Europe
It has evacuated more than 5,700 people in the UK since August 13, including 3,100 Afghans.
Germany flew 21 planes carrying nearly 3,000 people from 38 countries.
The United States managed to evacuate about 5,000 people to its military base in Rammstein, Germany.
Italy deported 1,990 Afghan nationals within a week and currently expects to take 1,300 to Kabul airport.
A seventh plane from Kabul, France, landed overnight from Sunday to Monday, evacuating nearly 100 French people, 40 foreigners and more than 1,000 Afghans.
Denmark helped evacuate at least 45 people, including 650 Afghans and their families. In Poland, more than 350 people have already arrived.
Belgian Defense Minister Ludwin Dedonder said on Monday evening that the planes of the Belgian military operation were able to move “almost 700 people” at this stage. They are Afghans, Belgians, but also Dutch and Danes.
At this stage Spain received 710 evacuees. The country now operates through bases in Rota and Moran in Andalusia (south) as a shipping country for the evacuation of collaborators from the United States and, in this case, receives 4000 Afghans for 15 days. Defense Minister Margarita Robles said Monday.
Sweden has residence permits for more than 170 people, including 68 serving for its military.
Hungary, Bulgaria and Austria also deported dozens of people.
Switzerland, which flew to Tashkent on Monday on a 300-seat plane to transport evacuees from Kabul to Uzbekistan, has already invited about 11 people, including at least 11 Swiss and Afghans with their families.
Turkish and Russian reluctance
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called for an end to the influx of Afghan refugees, including “disguised fighters.”
“But how do we know who these refugees are (hidden)? “, He said.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called on the EU to support “countries close to Afghanistan to prevent further influx of refugees into Europe.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey had “failed to shoulder the responsibility of third countries” to welcome Afghans who are now facing threats after working in Western institutions.