All nine people with Luxembourg links reach Kabul airport
All nine people with ties to Luxembourg, including a family with three children, managed to pass through Afghanistan's Taliban-controlled capital to reach Kabul's airport, government officials said on Tuesday.
The family and three other men entered Kabul airport overnight between Monday and Tuesday and will be flown to Europe as soon as possible, Luxembourg's foreign affairs ministry said.
Another person made it into the airport during the day on Monday, which means all nine people with Luxembourg links have reached the airport, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Dejvid Adrovic confirmed. Foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn thanked Belgium and the Netherlands for their “efficient and generous” help in getting the eight people to the airport.
“These people will board European flights as soon as possible to reach Luxembourg,” the ministry said in a press release.
A Luxembourg A400M military plane is expected to fly 93 people from the capital of neighbouring Pakistan to the Melsbroek military airport near Brussels. Two Belgian C130 transport planes are being used to shuttle evacuees from Kabul to Islamabad.
It is not yet determined how the nine people will fly back to Luxembourg, whether it will be via Islamabad or directly to another European city, Adrovic said.
"The most difficult thing for people is to get inside the airport," he added.
Luxembourg's foreign affairs ministry and army are each sending one person to Kabul's airport to help coordinate the return of European residents still in Afghanistan, the ministry said.
The nine people the Grand Duchy is trying to evacuate include four Luxembourgish citizens, two Afghans living in the Grand Duchy and three others with ties to the country. Luxembourg's mission also included helping to rescue 17 NATO employees stranded in Afghanistan, the government said last week.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban swept into the capital last week, signalling the end of a 20-year Western conflict aimed at remaking the country. The UK has so far evacuated more than 7,000 people, British media reported. The US flew around 10,400 people out of the Afghan capital over a 24-hour period this weekend, according to Reuters.
US President Joe Biden was expected to say on Tuesday whether he will extend the 31 August evacuation deadline. European allies are expected to push Biden to extend the deadline during a G7 summit on Tuesday, but a Taliban spokesman warned of “consequences” if the US postpones its final withdrawal.
A chartered private jet landed in Melsbroek on Tuesday morning with around 250 passengers on board, Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès said on Twitter. Other planes arrived in Belgium on Monday from Islamabad, including a chartered Air Belgium flight and an Airbus A330 MRT carrying a combined 230 people, Wilmès tweeted previously.
The C130 planes participating in the Luxembourg-Belgian military mission made three flights from Kabul to Islamabad on Monday, collectively carrying 318 people. A fourth flight stayed on the ground for technical reasons, Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Wouter Poels said in a press briefing on Monday.