The first defensive aircraft – the Falcon 7X – departs at 4 pm with a consular and standby team from Millsbrook for Islamabad in Pakistan. The federal government will tell you. The larger transport planes, which will carry out the actual evacuation mission from Afghanistan, will follow “in the next few hours”, along with a detachment of about 15 military personnel.
The Basic Cabinet decided this Monday afternoon to deploy three defense transport planes to evacuate Belgians, their family members, and Afghan staff such as interpreters, mediators, human rights activists and women. Thousands of people are trying to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible after the extremist Islamic Taliban movement seized power after a lightning attack.
The first plane, a smaller Falcon 7X with diplomats and a preparation team on board, takes off from Millsbrook Military Airport at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The flight heads to Islamabad in Pakistan, where the Belgian embassy is monitoring the situation in Afghanistan. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Sophie Wilmès (MR) and Ludivine Didonder (PS), and Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration Sami Mahdi (CD&V) announced this in a statement Tuesday noon.
The process may take several days.
In the second stage, two C130 transport aircraft and an A400M, with a detachment of about fifteen military personnel, will take off. This departure appears to be planned for “the next few hours”. Transport planes fly first to Islamabad and from there fly several times to the Afghan capital, Kabul, and back. How often depends on the number of people to be evacuated, but the process “may take several days,” the government suspects. The total capacity of the transport aircraft is 220 people – 100 for the A400M and 60 per C130.
After that, the evacuees are transferred to Belgium. Foreign Minister Mahdi confirmed that he will provide a humanitarian visa for Afghans being evacuated through Belgium. “It is a moral duty,” he says.
The concerned federal government departments and the relevant ministers are planning tomorrow for a media point according to the development of the situation on the ground. Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès stressed that this was a “difficult task”, “in circumstances that change from hour to hour”. According to Defense Minister Didonder, everything is done in coordination with other countries on the ground. The United States is responsible for security at Kabul International Airport, and the Netherlands, Germany and France, among other countries, have already managed to send planes to Afghanistan.
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