The Latest: Britain ‘not going to get’ everyone out of Kabul
LONDON — Britain says it has evacuated 8,600 U.K. citizens and Afghans from Kabul in recent days, 2,000 of them in the last 24 hours.
But Defense Secretary Ben Wallace conceded that “we’re not going to get everybody out of the country” before the U.S.-led mission ends on Aug. 31.
Britain and other allies are pressing President Joe Biden to extend the evacuation past the end-of-the-month date agreed with the Taliban. But Wallace told Sky News it’s unlikely Biden will agree.
The government said one of the evacuees on a British plane turned out to be a person on a U.K. no-fly list. Wallace said the individual was identified on arrival in Britain was investigated and judged “not a person of interest” to security services.
MORE ON THE CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN:
— At-risk Afghans fearing Taliban hunker down, wait to leave
— G-7 grapples with Afghanistan, an afterthought not long ago
— Taliban takeover prompts fears of a resurgent al-Qaida
— US troops surge evacuations out of Kabul but threats persist
— Deadly gunfire at airport; Taliban insist on US pullout date
— UK struggles for influence as Afghan crisis strains US ties
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BERLIN — Prominent Afghan women’s rights activist Zarifa Ghafari has arrived in Germany together with her family members.
Ghafari landed at Cologne/Bonn airport late on Monday after fleeing Afghanistan to Pakistan last week.
Armin Laschet, the governor of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state who met Ghafari, said it was important to help as many women as possible to leave Afghanistan in the coming days, Germany’s dpa news agency reported.
Ghafari became the mayor of the Afghan town of Maidan Shahr in 2018, at the age of 26.
She was a recipient of the the U.S. State Department’s 2020 International Women of Courage award. According to the State Department, she has survived at least six assassination attempts.
GENEVA — Switzerland’s foreign affairs office says a charter flight has arrived in Zurich with 219 people who were evacuated from Afghanistan on board.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs says the flight from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, landed early Tuesday, carrying 141 Afghans who worked with the Swiss department of development and cooperation in Afghanistan or their families and relatives.
Another 78 people from Afghanistan, Germany and Sweden were also on the flight.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that an inclusive political settlement is the best way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover. Pakistan fully supports efforts in that direction, he added.
According to a foreign ministry statement, Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the remarks in a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, about the situation in Afghanistan.
The statement says Qureshi told Lavrov that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was of critical importance for Pakistan and the region. It said Qureshi informed Lavrov about Pakistan’s outreach to regional countries for consultations on the challenges arising out of developments in Afghanistan.
The statement quoted Qureshi as also saying that Pakistan is facilitating the evacuation of foreigners stranded in Afghanistan. Qureshi is expected to leave for Uzbekistan later Tuesday on a visit during which he will also travel to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Iran to discuss Afghan developments.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide says the evacuation deadline in Afghanistan should be extended beyond Aug. 31.
“One of a main concern is that the airport will be closed,” Eriksen Soereide told Norwegian broadcaster TV2 on Tuesday morning. “The civilian part is closed now, so we are completely dependent on the US military operation being maintained in order to be able to evacuate.”
She spoke as a plane with 157 people who had been evacuated from Afghanistan landed in Oslo. So far Norway has evacuated 374 people from Afghanistan.
“There is no guarantee that we will be able to help all Norwegian citizens who want assistance this time around,” she told Norway’s other broadcaster NRK, adding Norway will continue the evacuation as long as the airport in Kabul is open.
In neighboring Sweden, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that she too could not guarantee that they can help all those who want to get out.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said that Australia has helped evacuate more than 1,600 people from the Kabul airport in 17 flights since last Wednesday.
“We have achieved this by working very closely with the United States and the United Kingdom, among other nations,” Andrews told Parliament on Tuesday.
The evacuated people include Australian citizens, Afghan nationals who had worked for the Australian government during the 20-year conflict and other countries’ nationals. The Australian government has not said how many people it planned to evacuate from Afghanistan.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier said Australian and New Zealand officials had evacuated more than 650 people from the airport over Monday night.
Morrison said that five flights had left the airport in the busiest day of Australian involvement in evacuations since the Taliban took control of the country. One of the flights was a New Zealand military aircraft.
Morrison told Nine Network television that the evacuated people included Australians, New Zealanders and Afghans.