Kabul, Aug 28: European countries are racing to complete evacuation of their nationals ahead of the August 31 deadline – with Britain to end its Afghan evacuation mission on Saturday, while Italy and Germany have flown back the last of their evacuees.
British troops will end their evacuation operations in Afghanistan on Saturday, UK armed forces chief General Nick Carter said.
“We’re reaching the end of the evacuation, which will take place during the course of today. And then it will be necessary to bring our troops out on the remaining aircraft,” he told the BBC.
“We haven’t been able to bring everyone out, and that has been heart-breaking. And there have been some very challenging judgments that have had to be made on the ground.”
Carter said there were still some civilian flights leaving Kabul for the UK, but very few now.
On Friday, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said they had evacuated 14,543 people from the capital since August 13. However, around 1,100 Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK as well as approximately 150 Britons remain in Afghanistan.
Italy’s final evacuation flight carrying refugees from Afghanistan landed at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport on Friday.
The Italian Air Force C-130J aircraft transported 58 Afghan citizens, said Italy’s consul and a NATO diplomat who had coordinated evacuations at the Kabul airport,.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said the nation’s air force had evacuated 4,890 Afghans in 87 flights, the highest number for any European Union nation.
Italy’s remaining soldiers left Afghanistan on a separate flight from Kabul on Friday night.
The German military completed its airlift operations from the Kabul airport on Friday. Germany’s Bundeswehr safely evacuated over 5,100 people, including more than 3,600 Afghans.