Taliban chef says US exit is ‘our happiest moment’
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The hurry to evacuate as many as possible before the August 31 deadline has created something of a scramble for the authorities, who are trying to evacuate citizens of other countries as well as Afghan’s seeking refuge elsewhere across the globe. The Taliban has rejected calls to extend the August 31 deadline for Nato forces to leave Afghanistan, jeopardising hopes of evacuating thousands of foreign nationals and vulnerable Afghans. Currently, it is unknown whether today’s bombing attack on Kabul airport will suspend evacuations.
The UK is taking in 9,000 Afghan refugees and has already announced it will be taking an additional 20,000 over the coming five years.
The resettlement programme will focus on women, children, Afghan interpreters and other minorities in the greatest danger.
The Prime Minister said the “overwhelming majority” of eligible people have now been evacuated from Afghanistan, but he conceded the time left is now “quite short”.
Boris Johnson vowed the UK will “do everything we can to get everybody else” before the deadline for British troops to depart.
This came after President Joe Biden refused his request to extend the time frame for US troops departing Afghanistan.
Germany currently has some 148,000 – or around 5.5 percent – of Afghan refugees counted in late 2020.
Germany has said it will continue evacuation flights as long as possible, and by early on Thursday morning, the German military had evacuated 5,193 people on 34 flights.
Overall, Germany had said it had identified 10,000 people who needed to be evacuated, including Afghan local staff, journalists and human rights activists.
The French foreign ministry has confirmed as of Wednesday evening more than 100 French nationals and more than 2,000 Afghans had reached France after being evacuated from Kabul airport.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said France expects to complete its evacuation flights from Kabul on Friday evening.
France has some 32,000 Afghan refugees living in the country already.
Officials in Qatar confirmed on Thursday it had evacuated more than 40,000 people to Doha.
It is not known how many of these are Qatari nationals and how many are Afghans.
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A Government spokesperson said: “evacuation efforts will continue in the coming days in consultation with international partners.”
Canada has taken 3,700 Canadian nationals and Afghan citizens from Kabul since the crisis began.
The country has also announced it has finished its evacuation programme ahead of schedule.
In the neighbouring USA, the number of refugees is significantly fewer in comparison with its allies, having taken only 500 Afghan refugees in 2021, compared with 600 last year.
The US military will continue evacuating people from Kabul airport until August 31 if needed but will prioritise the removal of its own troops and military equipment on the last couple of days, the Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday.
A total of 4,400 American nationals have so far been rescued from Kabul, with a suspected 2,500 still there.
Poland has evacuated some 900 people from Afghanistan so far, including 300 women and children, the polish rime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday.
The UAE confirmed on Thursday it had evacuated 36,500 people to date – a mix of UAE nationals and refugees.
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