One of the two C-130 transport aircraft in the Afghanistan region has a technical defect. That‘s what the Department of Defense reports on Twitter. So far, only one flight from Afghanistan has arrived in the Netherlands. An evacuation device containing 35 Dutch people landed at Schiphol Airport at Schiphol Airport on Wednesday night after a few hours delay.
Follow the latest developments in Afghanistan in this live blog.
Here are the main points:
One of the two Dutch evacuation aircraft in Afghanistan region is broken
Evacuation plane with 35 Dutch landed at Schiphol
Afghan Dutchman in Kabul: ‘Taliban started executions‘
Great frustration during Afghanistan debate: “This is the weirdest debate I’ve ever had”
Comment: Biden made a capital mistake
‘Fast Turnout Taliban Easy to Explain’
Again a Dutch evacuation flight has departed from the Afghan capital Kabul. Initiates say that 19 people on board are reported to have the Netherlands as their final destination, but this has not yet been confirmed.
The plane has already landed, but a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense could not say where for security reasons. The Department reported on Twitter that about 50 passengers were on board the flight.
Earlier Thursday, the same aircraft with 69 Germans and 9 Dutch people landed on board. The final destination of that flight has not been disclosed either.
Currently, Defense has an airlift for evacuation flights from Kabul. It is planned that there is a flight to and fro to a safe airport three times a day. Defense has two C-130 conveyors available for this purpose. One of them is currently faulty.
Not only Dutch people are being evacuated, but also Afghans who helped the Dutch mission in the country and are now at risk. That‘s cooks, guards, or drivers, for example. Interpreters already had a special scheme for easier asylum in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is also evacuating citizens from other countries, such as Germany. From the stopover they are taken to their destination country with other flights.
NATO also has an airlift from Kabul. A Defense spokesperson says that people who can go to the Netherlands from Kabul can also appeal to this.
22.00 — Washington: 6000 people are waiting at Kabul Airport
According to the U.S. Department of State, about 6,000 people are waiting at the airport of the Afghan capital Kabul for a flight to bring them to safety. It’s about Americans, other foreigners and Afghans who meet all the requirements for evacuation.
Washington expects about twenty flights to depart in the next few hours. According to a spokesperson, so far, only a few Americans have reported that they were unable to reach the airport.
Chaos reigns around the airport. People report that there is no passing through because there are many Afghans who fear for their lives and want to flee. The airport is guarded by the Americans, making it a kind of Western island in Afghanistan after the takeover of power by the radical Islamic Taliban. Taliban roadblocks are also available at the airport.
17.14 — Taliban hold manhunt for Americans and NATO employees
A few days after their takeover of power, the radical Alislamic Taliban in Afghanistan are pursuing their search for Afghans who would have worked with the Americans or NATO troops. They also check among the crowd of Afghans at the capital Kabul airport.
They threaten to kill or arrest family members if they can‘t find them, The New York Times reports on the basis of a United Nations confidential document. The conclusions contradict the commitments made by the fundamentalists that they would not take revenge on members and supporters of the cases, West-backed government. The report raises the growing doubt about that promise and suggests that the Taliban can indeed commit retaliatory murders, as they did when they took over Afghanistan more than 20 years ago, the daily newspaper said.
According to the document, there are multiple reports that the Taliban has a list of people who want to interrogate and punish them. The list also lists the places where the people wanted would be located. In particular, members of the Afghan army and police, as well as people who worked for intelligence units of the overthrown government, are at risk.
The Taliban go door to door. Target family members are arrested or threatened with death or arrest unless the employees wanted surrender.
Wednesday’s document was given to the UN by the Norwegian Centre for Global Analyzes, a group that provides intelligence to agencies of theglobal organization.
16.50 – ‘Afghan football talent killed in flight from Kabul with Army Airplan’
A boy still playing football for the Afghan national youth team has been found dead in the landing gear of an American army aircraft.
Zaki Anvari, like many fellow countrymen, was desperate to flee the land taken by the Taliban and bought it with his life.
Anvari‘s body was found by American soldiers after the aircraft made an emergency landing in Qatar. The young man would have been 19 years old. According to his social media profile, he lived in Kabul. When he was 16 years old, he played football for Afghanistan’s national youth team.
15.57 — Russia offers aircraft for evacuations Afghans, and
Russia is willing to deliver aircraft to evacuate Afghans from their country. The Moscow Foreign Ministry comes up with that offer as Western countries try to get their compatriots out of the capital Kabul as the Taliban waving the scepter there. Russia has not cleared its embassy in Kabul and has not planned any evacuations itself.
The Russians also want to transport Afghans to countries that want to host and host them, a department spokeswoman said.
Many Afghans wishing to leave the country struggle to get to Kabul Airport, Hamid Karzai International Airport. The Taliban have set up checkpoints on airport access roads and allow only foreigners and sometimes Afghans to pass through with the appropriate travel documents. US soldiers control the airport and Afghan airspace.
The Taliban once again announced that they support foreign troops in evacuating their compatriots and also say they let Afghans pass to the airport. “We prevent any form of violence and quarrel between Afghans, foreigners and members of the Taliban,” said a fundamentalist official.
Several Western countries have now evacuated compatriots and Afghan interpreters and other staff. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the operation “very complex.” In addition to Germans, as many Afghan employees as possible are picked up, as well as Afghans who need protection, she said Thursday.
12.43 – Thank you for evacuation German citizens from Kabul through the Netherlands
Germany thanks the Netherlands for evacuating 69 German citizens from Kabul Wednesday night. “Thank you very much,” said the German Foreign Ministry in a message on Twitter on Thursday.
The Germans speak of “European solidarity” and say that Germany is also committed to removing citizens of “partner countries” from Afghanistan.
Earlier Thursday, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Wednesday night “dozens of people” could be carried by the aircraft that the ambassador, a consular emergency team and 62 soldiers had dropped off in Kabul. Some of them had a Dutch passport.
The tweet shows that on Wednesday, the German Ministry of Defense managed to evacuate more than 200 people from the area.
11.21 — Kaag calls on US to stay at Kabul Airport for as long as possible
For the large-scale evacuations from Kabul Airport, according to demissionary Secretary of State Sigrid Kaag, it is important that the U.S. Army remains there for as long as possible. Kaag is going to call on the United States, along with a number of other countries, she says. “We depend on what the Americans do with everything. They have coordination with the Taliban.” Germany thinks about it, says the minister.
The government‘s biggest concern now is to get “the people we want to get here” on a plane as soon as possible, Kaag made clear. That’s easier said than done, given the chaos around Kabul Airport.
The Netherlands sent 62 soldiers to Kabul to speed up evacuations. These commands and marines do not go off the airport, because the roads there are under the control of the Taliban, said demissionary defense minister Ank Bijleveld. People who are allowed to leave the country with a Dutch Defence Device should come to the airport on their own. That did last night, says Bijleveld. “We‘re doing everything we can to get people on the plane.”
10.55 — Deaths in protest against Taliban according to eyewitnesses
In a protest on Afghanistan’s independence day in the northeastern provincial capital Asadabad killed Thursday after Taliban fighters opened fire. It‘s not clear if people have been hit or that there were deaths due to panic and threatened. The demonstrators carried the national flag in the city, which is roughly100 kilometres east of the capital Kabul.
Twitter also mentions the capital of groups of Afghans waving the national black-red-green flag. It would be a protest against the Taliban who have a white flag with Islamic creed written in black. A Taliban website announced Thursday that the country’s official name is Islamic Emirate Afghanistan. That is the same name as the Taliban terror in the years 1996-2001, and in those years the white Taliban flag was the national flag.
According to recent reports, there is resistance to the Taliban in the northeast. The mountainous Panjshir region northeast of Kabul has not fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Ahmad Massoud, son of a famous warrior against the Taliban during the reign of terror, has asked the US for weapons through the Washington Post to fight the Taliban. He killed his father Ahmed Shah Massoud in 2001, called the Lion of Panjshir and prevented the Taliban from taking parts of the north. Ahmed Massoud says America can still be the arsenal of democracy and that he wants to “follow in his father‘s footsteps in the Panjshir, but we need weapons, ammunition and supplies.”
It’s been 102 years since Afghanistan became formally independent of the British Empire. The black-red-green national flag dates back to the twenties and the colour combination would have been introduced by the then King Amanullah I (1892-1960), who liked the German tricolor so much. The country has not been a monarchy since 1973 and is currently officially called the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
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09.14 — Twelve deaths in chaos airport, baby by fence given to military
Twelve people have already died in chaos on and around Kabul International Airport. Some have been shot and there are people who were in the jeopardy. The new powers in Afghanistan, the Taliban, have announced this. They insist that anyone who does not have travel documents to leave do not go to the airport.
Numerous Afghans are trying to enter the airport hoping for a flight from the country. American troops and Taliban fighters try to keep them away. According to British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, no unaccompanied minors can be evacuated. He responded to images of a desperate mother who tricks a baby through a fence to a military man.
According to Wallace, another child was lifted over a wall because her family was taken out of the pack. British soldiers do their job under very harsh conditions, says Wallace. “They have to deal with desperate Afghans who want only one thing: out of the country.”
The US government complained on Wednesday that the Taliban are stopping people going to the airport. The Taliban would not keep their promises to let go of people who have worked with the US or allies. President Joe Biden, in an interview with ABC, after some insistence of the interrogator, indicated that the evacuation mission may take longer than planned. He wanted to finish that August 31, but if there are still Americans, then we stay, Biden said eventually. The US must evacuate between 10,000 and 15,000 compatriots. He said 50,000 to 65,000 Afghans with families want to leave.
On Monday, a crowd broke through the deposits. The situation seems to be stabilising and the US authorities informed Thursday that civil aviation can use the airport again. The evacuations of mostly foreigners who were in Afghanistan are currently being carried out by military aircraft. At the airport, 4500 U.S. soldiers are available to facilitate evacuations. The US controls airspace over Afghanistan.
08.30 — Biden: Troops remain until all Americans are gone
The US troops will remain in Afghanistan even after August 31, if not all Americans have been evacuated before that time. That‘s what President Biden said in his first interview since the fall of Kabul. Biden set the first August 31 as a deadline. Before that time, he wanted to get rid of all American troops.
Biden stressed that the Americans will do everything they can to get every American who wants to be evacuated before the deadline. But if that doesn’t work, the troops will stay. “If there are still U.S. citizens, we will continue to get them out too,” said Biden in his interview for TV channel ABC News.
It is estimated that there are currently about ten to fifteen thousand U.S. citizens in Afghanistan. Part of it is outside Kabul. There are reports that the Taliban is holding back travelers. The Pentagon warnedearlier today that they don‘t have the capacity to pick up all of those citizens. There would now be just five thousand soldiers in Kabul, and they are needed to guard Kabul Airport.
Biden was more reluctant about whether all Afghans who helped Americans should be out of the country before the army disappears. “We want to take away everyone who can leave and who should go,” was Bidens evasive answer. According to Biden, there are currently fifty thousand to sixty-five thousand Afghans who have to leave the country.
Biden reiterated that he felt he had handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan well. According to him, chaos was inevitable. “I don’t think there‘s a way to leave that country without causing chaos.” The US media criticises the President after the unexpectedly rapid rise of the Taliban and the chaotic scenes that followed at Kabul Airport.
07.06 – Commercial flights welcome to Kabul, Defense
Commercial airlines can fly back to Kabul International Airport, but must get permission from the U.S. Department of Defense first. The airspace has been only accessible to military aircraft in recent days, but the US aviation authority FAA gives scheduled flights a chance to land in Afghanistan.
However, the FAA calls on US airlines that do not have permission from the Department of Defense to avoid the airspace over Afghanistan completely. There are hardly any air traffic controllers operating and Afghan airspace is no longer controlled. In addition, “the activities of militants and extremists” lead to dangerous situations, the FAA reports.
United Airlines, one of the few US carriers that normally fly across the area, had already announced that it stopped flying over Afghanistan on Monday. KLM is also avoiding airspace over Afghanistan for the time being because it is too dangerous.
A White House spokesman said that U.S. soldiers had evacuated some 1,800 people from Afghanistan on Wednesday. In total, the United States raised nearly 6,000 people in Kabul. It is not clear whether the US Army will actually use commercial airlines in the evacuations.
06.45 — Media: Interpreter waiting for evacuation flight shot down in Kabul
An Afghan interpreter who worked for the Australian Ministry of Defense waiting for an evacuation flight to leave Kabul has been shot down on its way to the airport. According to Australian media, the man was hit in his leg by a Taliban warrior on Tuesday night (local time).
There are multiple reports of violence and chaos outside the airport, where people seem to have trouble passing Taliban checkpoints. Foreign media report that the Taliban only allow foreigners and no Afghans to pass through. Social media images show how shooting outside the airport. An ABC News correspondent reports that there is “more chaos than ever” on the roads leading to the airport, which is currently secured by US soldiers.
04.45 – Dutch ambassador and emergency team arrive in Kabul
A replacement Dutch embassy team arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, reports demissionary minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Affairs) on social media. It’s about the ambassador, a consular emergency team and 62 military personnel for protection. The group must allow evacuations to the Netherlands at the airport.
According to Kaag, the embassy team that is being alternated is now back on Dutch soil. Dutch staff at the embassy in Kabul left Afghanistan under great pressure on Monday night. The new team should bring more people to safety, including local Afghan embassy staff.
The Dutch embassy staff were sent to the airport on the night of Saturday to Sunday due to imminent danger. According to Kaag, they had to leave so fast that local Afghan staff could not be informed. Those employees found an abandoned embassy on Sunday.