EU countries evacuate Kabul

BRUSSELS: European countries scrambled to evacuate their citizens and Afghan staff from Kabul on Sunday and Monday (16 August) as US troops kept the Afghan capital's airport open - the only way out of the country that has been taken over by Taliban extremists in lightning speed.

Germany, France, and the Netherlands were among countries moving diplomatic staff to the airport ahead of evacuations and to help their own nationals and Afghans to find a way out. Paris has also set up a mission at the airport.

Britain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Spain have announced the evacuation of embassy personnel.

Denmark, Norway, and Finland are temporarily shutting their Kabul embassies.

Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš said on Sunday that a plane carrying 46 Czechs and local colleagues, and their families, had left Kabul and was headed for Prague.

Spain was planning to send two planes to Dubai on Monday as part of evacuating embassy staff and Afghan workers and their families, as well as EU personnel.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba also said Kyiv was helping EU countries with evacuations.

Albania and Kosovo both said Sunday they had accepted a request from Washington to temporarily bring in Afghan refugees, Reuters reported.

Around 60 countries issued a statement on Sunday calling for "all parties to respect and facilitate, the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country."

The statement was signed by 25 EU countries, except for Hungary and Bulgaria, Euobserver reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, Poland is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and the first plane will soon head to Afghanistan to evacuate people who require care, the prime minister announced on Facebook on Monday, The First News reported.

Mateusz Morawiecki wrote: "Poland supports its allies and friends in need… Under my authority, the first plane will soon depart for Afghanistan and be used to evacuate people who require our care. This operation has been in preparation since yesterday."

Belgium will also send military planes to Kabul to evacuate Belgian citizens and Afghan staff, news agency Belga reported on


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