Nicolas Maeterlinck

Defence Minister wants to send 4 aircraft to Afghanistan to help with evacuation

The Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder (Francophone socialist) hopes that four Belgian military aircraft can be sent to Afghanistan. Ms Dedonder has also said that a military unit is ready to go and help with the evacuation effort from Kabul Airport. Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Department has received dozens of questions from Belgians that are currently in Afghanistan.

Like other Western countries Belgium is now ready to take action to evacuate people from Afghanistan after the situation there changed fundamentally during the past 24 hours, the Foreign Affairs Department says.

During the past few hours, the department has received 47 questions from Belgians that are in Afghanistan and their families. It is not clear exactly how many Belgians are currently in Afghanistan. Often, they are people with dual nationality.

A Foreign Affairs Department spokesperson told journalists that "We are looking at the situation case by case. The situation on the ground is highly chaotic. Thousands of people are stuck at Kabul Airport. We are trying to think about this as pragmatically as possible, using all the means that are there and in cooperation with our international partners”.

Belgians that are currently in Afghanistan are urgently requested to contact the Belgian Embassy in Islamabad. Interpreters and other Afghans that have helped the Belgian military in the past may also contact the Belgian authorities. However, often they also worked for other countries as well, and may have already requested a visa elsewhere. 

The aircraft that Ms Dedonder has in mind are military transport planes: one Airbus 400M, two Hercules C-130s and a Falcon 7X. The idea of sending Belgian aircraft and army unit to Kabul is currently just a proposal. Any foreign deployment of our country’s forces must be sanctioned by the federal cabinet. 

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