German army evacuates more than 2,700 people from Afghanistan

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 23 Aug, 2021 Updated Mon 23 Aug 2021 10:31 CEST
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The German army has airlifted more than 2,700 people out of Kabul using military planes, it emerged on Monday, as the situation on the ground becomes more intense.

The evacuation operation by western allies has been underway since the Taliban swept back to power just over a week ago. 

The Bundeswehr (German army) said Monday it had airlifted more than 2,700 people out of Kabul to safety since the start of the mission, which is still underway.

Kabul airport has seen chaotic scenes as tens of thousands of foreigners and Afghans seek to flee Afghanistan.

READ ALSO: Germany rescues more than 1,600 people from Afghanistan amid fears of Taliban revenge acts

"For as long as it is possible, we will fly as many as possible out of Kabul," the army said on Twitter, adding: "The situation at the airport remains very difficult."

As more people are flown out of Kabul, demos have been held throughout Germany in solidarity with Afghans and calling for governments to welcome refugees.

In Berlin on Sunday, people chanted "refugees are welcome here" during a peaceful demo. 

Earlier on Monday the Bundeswehr said German and US forces joined in a gun battle at Kabul airport after Afghan guards and unknown assailants exchanged fire, with one guard killed.

"This morning at 4.13am, there was an exchange of fire between Afghan guards and unknown assailants at the North Gate of Kabul airport. An Afghan guard was killed, three others injured," said the German army on Twitter.

"American and German forces participated in further exchange of fire," it said, adding that no German soldiers were injured.


Woman gives birth on flight to Germany

Meanwhile, an Afghan woman gave birth to a baby girl on a US military plane shortly after arriving on an evacuation flight to Germany, the US Air Force tweeted on Sunday.

During the flight from a staging base in the Middle East, the woman went into labour and began to experience complications, it said.

"The aircraft commander decided to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilise and save the mother's life," the US Air Mobility Command said later on Twitter.

Immediately on landing at the Ramstein base, US military medics helped the woman deliver her baby in the cargo hold of the plane.

Mother and child were then transferred to a nearby medical facility "and are in good condition", it said.

Footage released by the US military showed the mother lying on a stretcher being carried off the plane by US soldiers at the base in southwest Germany.

A week after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, evacuation operations from foreign countries continue under extreme conditions marked by scenes of panic and desperation at Kabul airport.

Since August 14th, about 17,000 people have been evacuated by the US, including 2,500 Americans, the US government said earlier.

The US got the green light from Berlin for some of the evacuees to be directed to Germany, where it has a number of bases.

About 1,150 people landed at the Ramstein base on Saturday, from where they are expected to depart for the United States within days, a base spokesman said.



AFP/The Local 2021/08/23 10:31

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