Chaos and anxiety in Afghanistan as the radical Taliban have taken over the country at lightning speed. Only at Kabul Airport can still be found by US soldiers. Desperate Afghans are trying to flee the country, the Netherlands is also struggling with evacuees and flights that need to be arranged.
Follow the latest developments in Afghanistan in this live blog.
Here are the main points:
Diplomats left against all instructions in Dutch Embassy in Kabul
Despair with Dutch people in Kabuls Hell: Why do the French manage to get away, but not us?
Americans evacuated to now turns out on one flight 823 Afghans
Taliban stop evacuees at airport: The Chaos Grows Great
Horror stories about Taliban piling up: “Terrorists Torture and Murder”
Defense: 53 people evacuated from Afghanistan
23.00 — U.S. soldiers are pulling civilians outside Kabul airport
U.S. soldiers have briefly left Afghan capital Kabul airport to pick up people who want to be evacuated for fear of the new rulers, the radical alislamic Taliban. The soldiers picked up 169 civilians near the airport, reports the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Pentagon did not provide information about peoples nationality. U.S. President Joe Biden had previously said 169 Americans had entered the airport using US troops. The Americans hold the airport.
At the same time, reports are coming that Taliban fighters have beaten U.S. civilians. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin calls this unacceptable.
In a conversation with parliamentarians, Austin said Americans were “beaten” by Taliban in Kabul, American media report. They rely on participants in the consultation. It seems to confirm that the Taliban is getting harder and harder. Shortly after the takeover, they had announced that they would not take revenge after 20 years of struggle against foreign forces in the country.
20.06 — Americans are going to use Ramstein base for evacuation flights
The Americans are going to use their Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany for their evacuation flights from Afghanistan. As it were, the air base becomes a center for the rescue of Americans and Afghan staff who have to go to the United States. Its about thousands of people, German media report.
The Americans are also going to use more flying bases in the Persian Gulf region for evacuations, U.S. media reports. The expansion is needed because the Qatar Air Force Base, which is used as an intermediate station, has reached its capacity. Due to a massive influx of evacuees there, flights from Kabul had to be temporarily stopped.
According to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the focus is on “evacuating as many people as possible under the very difficult conditions.” The use of the Ramstein base increases transport capacity and relieves the airlift between the Afghan capital Kabul and Uzbek capital Tashkent. The German army also flies to Tashkent. Thats where the evacuees are flown to Germany.
Maas stresses that there should be no space on an airplane left empty from Kabul anymore. That is why Germans will also be evacuated on American flights to Ramstein. In turn, the Germans take nationals of other countries from Kabul. Ramstein near Kaiserslautern is one of the most important military airports for US forces in Europe.
17.54 – NATO countries ask Americans: Keep Kabul Airport open longer
A large number of NATO countries urge the United States to keep the airport of Afghan capital Kabul open longer. The Netherlands is one of the countries that will continue to use the airport after 31 August to evacuate citizens, employees and people at risk under the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The US wants to complete the airport evacuations at the end of this month. But the foreign ministers of many small and a number of large NATO member states appealed to Americans on Friday afternoon for a little more time, says a NATO diplomat. “The evacuations are so slow and so laborious that more time is needed.”
Even if the US consents, it remains important to get the evacuees at the airport. Thats “the challenge” now, says NATO top man Jens Stoltenberg. “The paradox is that we have more planes than passengers.” According to Stoltenberg, it is particularly difficult to drive Afghans to the airport.
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Better cooperation between NATO countries can help with that. Some countries succeed better than others to get their people at Kabul International Airport,recalls a diplomat. Other countries may benefit from the access that allies such as the Americans, British and French have gained. It also helps the flow at the airport entrances if not every country only allows its own people to pass through. NATOs foreign ministers assured that after their consultation Friday afternoon “continue our close alignment” at the airport.
The Taliban should not stand in the way of evacuation, NATO foreign ministers moons following the consultations on the Islamist seizure in Afghanistan, where thousands of staff of Western troops and organizations are now in the crack of thousands of Western troops and organizations. “Our immediate mission now is to continue the safe evacuation of our citizens, residents of partner countries and Afghans who are at risk, especially those who helped us,” Minister Sigrid Kaag and her colleagues said afterwards.
17.05 — US dont know how many Americans are in Afghanistan
The US government doesnt know exactly how many Americans are in Afghanistan right now. This is partly because the current count will include people who may have left the country recently or long ago, said the White Houses head of communication, Kate Bedingfield.
Estimates range from 5,000 Americans in the Kabul region to 15,000 across the country. Now that planes are continuously departing, the number must have decline considerably.
The goal is to raise 5000 to 9,000 people a day, but not all of them are Americans. There were 350 out of 3000 on Thursday, and the US have evacuated around 14,000 people from Afghanistan since late July, 9000 of whom since Saturday, a day before the Taliban took over power.
The situation at the airport of the capital Kabul is still chaotic. Thousands are trying to leave the country, often for fear of the new radical Islamic powers. Because of the incomprehensibility of the situation, it is often unclear who will end up in planes.
The Washington government is trying to get a sharp picture of what remains to be done as soon as possible. We have been trying to connect with all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan for a few weeks now. They are asked, among other things, what plans they have and if they want to leave. “So thats a huge logistical operation,” says Bedingfield.
President Joe Biden has said to extend the 31st August deadline for the departure of the troops — its nearly 6000 now — if not all Americans have been evacuated yet.
15.30 — British have been working on airlift for Afghan interpreters and staff
months In silence, England has evacuated Afghan interpreters and staff over the past few months, DecceIT reports. That happened in the expectation that the Taliban would conquer power. More than two thousand people have been pulled back.
The interpreters received an email saying that they had to get ready for evacuation within two to four weeks. Dutch interpreters never received such an email, multiple sources confirm against DecceIT.
Anne-Marie Snels, former president of the AFMP military union, states that some bureaucratic bumps need to be taken. “We have to register each interpreter and his family individually to Defense, after which it remained silent for long periods of time. No evacuation plan or crisis playbook has been created at all.”
The British raise thousands of people every day. That process runs smoothly because they have arranged transfers from the city to the airport. The Netherlands has not arranged this for evacuees at the moment, causing hundreds of Dutch people to be stuck or daring out on the road for fear of the Taliban.
15.29 — Governor and Police Chief of Afghan Province disappeared
Since the Talibans takeover of power, the former governor of Afghman Province and former police chief of the same province have disappeared. Relatives of the missing people tell Afghan broadcaster ToloneWS that they havent been seen since they surrendered to the Taliban. The police chief of the city of Ghazni, in the province of the same name, has not been seen since he surrendered.
Ex-Governor Abdul Wali Wahidzai and former police chief Lotfullah Kamram surrendered five days ago. Since then, their families have not heard from them. Police chief Mohammad Hashem Ghalji is also without a trace. Presumably the Taliban is still holding them in prison. Its unclear why.
The Taliban announced a general amnesty for government employees on Tuesday. “You can safely resume your normal life and get back to work,” said the extremist group. Governors family members and police chief are now accusing the Taliban there.that they dont stick to the appointments.
12.15 — German shot down on the way to Kabul Airport A German man suffered a gunshot
wound on the way to Kabul Airport, says a government spokesperson. The victim was then slightly injured by an airplane evacuated from Afghanistan.
Germany sends two helicopters to the Afghan capital to help Germans in need. According to a German general, the helicopters are only deployed in the Kabul region and not further into the country. The helicopters arrive on Saturday.
Germany, like the Netherlands, is in a hurry to get all countrymen and Afghan employees out of Afghanistan. Eyewitnesses have told the German news agency DPA that its becoming more dangerous to go to the airport. Its very chaotic around the airport and people who dont get access to the airport are becoming more and more desperate. Many people would no longer dare to travel to the airport.
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed Germans in Afghanistan that they can access the airport. “But because of the chaotic situation, the doors may be closed sometimes. We cannot tell in advance when the doors open.”
10.40 — Taliban shooting family member of journalist Deutsche Welle dead
The Taliban shot a relative of a journalist of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Another relative has been seriously injured, the broadcaster reports. The Muslim extremists were in the process of searching for the journalist.
According to Deutsche Welle, the journalist works in Germany today. However, the Taliban sought him in Afghanistan and searched houses. Several of the journalists relatives escaped, but are now fleeing the jihadists.
DW director Peter Limbourg calls killing a journalists relative “tremendously tragic.” “It shows the danger our employees and their family members who are still in Afghanistan. It is clear that the Taliban is conducting targeted searches for journalists. Time is pressing.” Limbourg asks the German government to help the people in Afghanistan.
According to Deutsche Welle, the Taliban searched three houses of DW employees. Two journalists working for Afghan media were also arrested. One of them would have been shot dead.
The Taliban often say they dont want to take revenge on opponents, but there are more and more reports from Afghanistan that this is the case.
Also listen to the Defense and International Security Podcast Delta Tango with Jorrit Kamminga, author of the book “Thank you Bin Laden”:
08.00 – Taliban: Countries are asking for help with evacuations from Afghanistan
Several countries and organizations have asked the Taliban to to help evacuate people from Afghanistan, the jihadist organization reports. Many people still want to leave the country, where Muslim extremists have taken over power.
The Taliban does not say which countries or organizations are concerned. The jihadists have made their own blockade for the airport since this week. They reportedly only let people with foreign passports through.
The Netherlands is busy bringing people out of Afghanistan, among others. On the night of Thursday to Friday, 53 people were taken back. The United States reported that in the last 24 hours a total of 3,000 people have been brought out of the country, including 350 Americans. According to NATO, 18,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan over the past five days.
Many people are still waiting for evacuation according to NATO and the US. The US say its 6000 people.
06.30 — NATO: 18 000 people evacuated from Afghanistan At least 18,000 people have been
evacuated from Afghanistan in the past five days, a NATO official told Reuters news agency Friday (local time). Yet there are still crowds of crowds at all gates of the international airport in the Afghan capital Kabul.
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According to the official, the number of evacuations will double this weekend. U.S. President Joe Biden announced to give a press conference on the evacuation mission from Afghanistan on Friday afternoon (local time). On Wednesday, Biden announced that U.S. soldiers will remain in Afghanistan until all Americans wishing to leave the country are evacuated.
The Dutch in Afghanistan can call on NATO to fly one of the military aircraft to safe area. On Wednesday, a group of 35 Dutch evacuated from Afghanistan landed at Schiphol Airport. Prior to this, a C-17 device was used by several NATO countries and made a stopover in Georgiancapital Tbilisi.