Airlines join forces to help as many Afghan refugees as possible flee Kabul
The UN has called on Afghanistan's neighbors to keep its borders open as the number of civilians fleeing Taliban attacks increases. The Taliban conquered Kandahar, one of the most recently captured provincial capitals. It is the most important defeat of the Afghan government since the beginning of the insurgent offensive, after the withdrawal of international troops.
Thus, thousands of people have arrived in Kabul, but the numbers are rising by the hour. People are desperate in their attempt to leave the country before the Taliban's August 31 ban begins. Official institutions and airlines around the world have joined forces to try to help as many people as possible flee the insurgent-conquered country.
The Bucharest authorities are making great efforts to repatriate all Romanian citizens who are stranded in Kabul. Some of them returned to Romania on board a C130 Hercules aircraft belonging to Romanian Armed Forces. Dozens more have been evacuated by partner states, and these missions will continue as long as possible. Next, the Afghan citizens who worked with the Romanian troops and the students who have scholarships offered by the Romanian state, but also vulnerable categories, such as Afghan journalists and photographers, will be evacuated.
And the Romanian airline Star East Airline operated an evacuation flight in the Afghan capital, which is now under Taliban control, on Sunday. On August 22, the Star East Airline-owned Airbus A320 landed in Kabul. After spending almost six hours in the Afghan capital, the aircraft took off for Bahrain.
The US has activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet for the third time in its history.
Upon arrival in Frankfurt, a Lufthansa support team helps new arrivals with food, drink and clothing and provides initial medical and psychological assistance. For children landing in Frankfurt, a play and painting corner has been set up, with toys donated by citizens. Lufthansa will continue to operate additional flights from Tashkent in the coming days, in coordination with the German Foreign Office.
Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Atlas Air, Omni International and Hawaiian Airlines charter flights will begin to help the Department of Defense transport Afghan refugees to the United States, according to a statement from Fox Business. Southwest will operate about four flights a day to the Department of Defense. The airline said it anticipates that it will operate the same number of flights in the coming days.
As US evacuation from Kabul continues, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (for the third time in its history), calling on the six major US airlines to join the evacuation effort. The civilian fleet will not fly directly to Kabul airport, according to the Pentagon, but will be used to transport evacuees to temporary and intermediate bases after they have been flown from Kabul.
The Taliban seized weapons abandoned by Afghan troops.
In the last week, Lufthansa organized numerous airlifts to fly refugees from Afghanistan to Germany. In each case, the airline used an Airbus 340 aircraft used - normally - for long-haul flights. So far, more than 1.500 people have been brought to Frankfurt.
The French government has begun evacuating refugees and French citizens stranded in Kabul with help French Air Force. The FAF has already conducted several repatriation flights using Airbus A400M aircraft. As they left Al Dhafra base for another repatriation flight, the pilots fired two missiles - the exact reasons why the pilots made the decision are unknown, but they may have felt threatened. It should be noted that the Taliban seized millions of dollars in weapons that were abandoned by Afghan military troops when they decided to flee the insurgents, weapons left to them by US troops.
The Belgian government has also reached an agreement with the airline Air Belgium to repatriate evacuees from Kabul, via Pakistan. More than "500 Belgian citizens and Afghan human rights activists" are to be repatriated by the Belgian private company at Pakistan's Islamabad airport. Operation Red Kite will recover refugees who left Kabul aboard Hercules C130 aircraft. According to the authorities, 344 Belgians and 222 Afghans are affected by the evacuation operation.
The flights will take place as long as the Taliban allow.
Spain has become a global point of reference for managing the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, a country that has remained in chaos since the withdrawal of US troops, the advance of the Taliban and the collapse of the government. In response to this crisis, the Spanish authorities have set up a European reception center for Afghans fleeing the country at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base in Madrid.
So far, 5 aircraft have arrived in Spain Air Europa (Iberia subsidiary) carrying more than 800 Afghan refugees. In the coming days, several more refugee aircraft will arrive in Spain. The flights will take place as long as the Taliban allow.
Also, Air India it operated repatriation flights for its citizens in Afghanistan, but also for those seeking political asylum. The flights took place on Sunday from Kabul to New Delhi. The flights were operated by Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130 Hercules aircraft.
UPDATE: Austria, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Germany they said in a letter to the European Commission that they feared a possible crisis caused by the reception of Afghan refugees in Europe. Receiving them can send the wrong signal to other Afghan citizens who may decide to leave the country in search of a better life in a Western state without being in real danger.