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More than 10,000 people at Kabul airport awaiting evacuation

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By Euronews  with AFP, AP
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In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force airmen guide evacuees aboard a US Air Force plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport, August 24, 2021.
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force airmen guide evacuees aboard a US Air Force plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport, August 24, 2021.   -   Copyright  Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP

More than 10,000 people are waiting at Kabul's airport to be evacuated, the US defence department said at a press conference on Wednesday, as Afghanistan evacuations continue with many people desperately trying to flee the country.

Europe and the rest of the world are scrambling to complete evacuations ahead of the US withdrawal deadline of next Tuesday, August 31.

Since the effort began on August 14, roughly 88,000 people have already departed, including 19,000 people in the last 24 hours, the Pentagon said.

G7 and European leaders have pledged to help the country and its people following the Taliban's takeover, but without a Western military presence, the challenge is immense.

See below for the latest details.

08.25.2021
23:09

Latest updates on Afghanistan 

  • French citizen recounts harrowing Kabul evacuation
  • More than 10,000 people are awaiting evacuation at Kabul airport, US military says
  • Roughly 88,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul so far, Pentagon says
  • Belgium and Poland end evacuations due to Afghanistan security situation
  • Angela Merkel says the international community should continue to 'dialogue with the Taliban'
  • UNICEF Afghanistan: 10m children in desperate need
08.25.2021
23:06

French citizen recounts harrowing Kabul evacuation

A French citizen who was evacuated from Afghanistan recounted her "frantic" trip to the Kabul airport, stating that money had to be paid to the Taliban in order for her group of foreigners to get to the airport.

Victoria Fontan, a professor of peace and conflict studies at the American University of Afghanistan, told Euronews that the Taliban put her and others in her group under "house arrest and made it almost impossible for us to actually reach the airport."

"From the beginning till the end, it was quite uncertain if we could actually make it to the airport even as internationals," Fontan said.

Read more here.

08.25.2021
23:04

Belgium ends evacuations due to Afghanistan security situation

Belgium's prime minister Alexander De Croo said the country had ended Kabul airport evacuations due to the "evolution of the situation in Afghanistan and in agreement with European partners."

De Croo said that five flights had been operated between Kabul and Islamabad on Wednesday and that the government would continue to repatriate those that had been able to escape Kabul to other countries.
08.25.2021
22:22

'We are building to a plateau', US European Command head says

Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, head of the US European Command, said that he expects the flow of evacuations to continue at the same level over the next several days.

He said "we're not hearing any negative comments" from European allies about the evacuations, stating that everyone was working "feverishly" to get people out.
08.25.2021
21:35

US says 1,500 Americans still waiting to evacuate

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that as many as 1,500 Americans could still be awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan.

Blinken said that at the beginning of the evacuation, there were 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan and about 4,500 have already been evacuated.
08.25.2021
20:39

21 Germans transported to Kabul airport by US helicopter

Germany’s top military commander said that 21 German citizens were flown overnight to the Kabul airport in a US helicopter, AP reports.

Gen. Eberhard Zorn said that US troops flew the helicopter and German forces picked up the evacuees.

The US Pentagon acknowledged that there was a US military helicopter flight into Kabul overnight to gather evacuees and take them to the airport to be flown out of the country.

08.25.2021
20:15

NGO workers sound the alarm on humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Representatives from non-governmental organisations have warned that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is growing amid the western withdrawal from the country.

"More than 90% of Afghans currently live on less than two dollars a day. When I arrived in Afghanistan four years ago, this number was roughly 50% of the population," said Vicki Aken, the International Rescue Committee's Country Director in Afghanistan.

Aken spoke with representatives from the Danish Refugee Council and the Norwegian Refugee Council at a virtual briefing about the crisis.

"The devastating impacts of the 2018 drought, COVID and the 2021 drought, along with an escalation in the conflict, caused that number to skyrocket. And now, without a functional government in place with the threat of sanctions and the withdrawal of development funds, the current prognosis is quite dire," Aken added.
08.25.2021
19:48

Turkey begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

Turkey's defence ministry announced that it would begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan after evacuating 1129 civilians with their military aircraft.

European and other nations are scrambling to evacuate people from the country before the US military's August 31 deadline.

Meanwhile the AP reports that Turkey is strengthening its border with Iran amid fears of a migrant crisis as Afghans flee the country.
08.25.2021
17:58

'Our mission remains unchanged,' US Pentagon major general says on evacuation timeline

On the evacuations timeline set out by US President Joe Biden of August 31st, US army major general Taylor said "our mission remains unchanged."

"We will continue to put forth our maximum effort to safely evacuate as many people as possible," he said.
08.25.2021
17:48

More than 10,000 people at Kabul airport awaiting evacuation, US Pentagon says

More than 10,000 people are waiting at the Kabul Airport to be evacuated, US Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor, deputy director for regional operations and force management for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a press conference on the situation in Afghanistan.

"This is a snapshot in time," the major general said, adding that the situation would likely change, as more people arrive at the airport.

He said that the US Pentagon was relying on support from allies to transfer evacuees.

Six flights are set to transfer 1,800 Afghans from Germany to the United States and the US base in Germany is expecting 13 more flights from Kabul.
 

The Taliban has reiterated that the evacuations and troop withdrawals must end by the US August 31 deadline.

A Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday that after that date, Afghans will no longer be allowed to leave the country.

The UN's human rights chief has said she has "credible reports" of serious abuses by the Islamist militants, including summary executions, the recruitment of child soldiers, and restrictions imposed on women and girls.