Belgium stops evacuations from Afghanistan

1,400 people so far evacuated by Belgian military, including citizens, local employees, people in need

BRUSSELS (AA) – Belgium stopped evacuations from Afghanistan on Wednesday because of the deteriorating security situation in Kabul, the prime minister announced on Thursday.

The evacuations from the Kabul airport stopped at 1630GMT on Wednesday when the last flight landed in Islamabad, Alexander De Croo confirmed at a news conference.

“All the Belgians and our team who made it to the airport were evacuated,” De Croo added.

He explained that the Belgian government decided to stop evacuations on Wednesday because “the daytime security situation has very significantly deteriorated” and they had received intelligence on “an imminent threat of suicide bomb attacks.”

Belgian military aircraft have so far evacuated more than 1,400 people, including 300 children, in 23 rounds from Afghanistan.

The number includes people transported under agreements with other EU countries, such as Luxemburg and the Netherlands.

According to Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, the Belgian authorities contacted 934 people for their evacuation from Afghanistan, including 489 Belgian citizens and their family members along with 90 Belgian residents.

The evacuations list also featured around 90 employees of the Defense Ministry and the Belgian consulate, as well as 265 people in a “fragile situation.”

But the Belgian government “doesn’t know for sure if 114 people on the evacuations list could leave Kabul,” Wilmes stressed.

The Belgian military personnel and aircraft will stay in Islamabad as the authorities analyze the security situation to help those who remained in Afghanistan, but the “way evacuations are carried out will change,” De Croo explained.


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