Afghanistan: Evacuation flights carrying foreign nationals and Afghans arrive at their destinations

Foreign nationals as well as Afghans are arrive in the UK on Tuesday evening. Credit: PA

Since the Taliban took Kabul on Sunday there has been a desperate rush to airlift foreign nationals and Afghans who worked with coalition forces in the 20 years since the 2001 invasion.

However, chaos around the airport has slowed the efforts after Afghan civilians rushed onto the runways in an attempt to board a flight out of the country.

But more and more flights transporting people from the turmoiled country are now landing at their destinations.

Planes carrying British nationals and Afghans from Afghanistan have been landing at a Royal Air Force station in England as the evacuation process continued.

The first flight of British nationals and embassy staff arrived on Sunday night at Brize Norton, a Royal Air Force airbase in Oxfordshire, around 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of London.

A second flight arrived late on Tuesday night, while another landed early on Wednesday morning.

The official in charge of Britain's evacuation of between 6,000 to 7,000 people from Afghanistan said earlier Tuesday that Taliban commanders around the airport in Kabul had not sought to disrupt the effort.

US officials said the Taliban have agreed to allow “safe passage” for civilians trying to leave Afghanistan as the country ramps up its efforts to evacuate Americans, Afghan allies and others from the country.

Also on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new resettlement scheme for Afghan citizens.

In the first year of the scheme, the UK would take 5,000 refugees - mainly women and girls, and religious and other minorities, up to a total on 20,000 in the years to come.

This is on top of the existing scheme for interpreters and others who worked for the UK.

Flights carrying evacuees from Kabul landed in France on Tuesday. Credit: AP

Other evacuation flights from Afghanistan have been landing in countries across the world carrying foreign nationals as well as Afghan citizens. Evacuees are being flown from Kabul in military planes to airports in the region, where commercial airliners are taking them to their final destination.

On Wednesday, Australia evacuated the first 26 people, including Australian and Afghan citizens, from Kabul since the Taliban overran the Afghan capital.

An Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft landed at an Australian military base in the United Arab Emirates with the 26 who included a foreign official working for an international agency, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The remainder were Australians and Afghans.

“This was the first of what will be many flights, subject to clearance and weather and we do note that over the back end of this week, there is some not too favourable weather forecast,” Morrison said.

Two Hercules and two larger C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft will make further evacuation flights.

Australia plans to evacuate 130 Australians and their families plus an undisclosed number of Afghans who have worked for Australian soldiers and diplomats in roles such as interpreters.

Media reports say Australia’s goal is to evacuate 600 people, but Morrison did not provide a number. “Our goal is as many as we can, as safely and as quickly as we can,” he said.

A Lufthansa flight carrying evacuees coming from Afghanistan arrived in Frankfurt on Wednesday. Credit: AP

Also on Wednesday morning, a plane carrying Afghan evacuees arrived at Frankfurt Airport. It is one of three special Lufthansa flights bringing Afghan evacuees to Germany.

The German Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the first German military transport plane that landed in Kabul took off with only seven people on board due to chaos on the ground at the airport.

He also said that 180 people were waiting at Kabul airport for the next German military evacuation.

Earlier on Tuesday evening, a French flight carrying 41 people evacuated from Kabul arrived at a Paris airport.

The evacuees were first brought to a military air base in Abu Dhabi, and several of the passengers were then sent back to France.

French authorities did not provide details of the nationalities of the people on the flight to Paris.

Defence minister Florence Parly said “there are still a few dozen Afghan people whom we consider need to be evacuated as soon as possible and we are working on it,” in addition to bringing back French citizens.

President Emmanuel Macron promised on Monday that France would not abandon Afghans who worked for the country, from translators to kitchen staff as well as artists, activists and others under threat with the collapse of the Afghan government.