Two C130 transport planes left around noon. One was carrying extra ammunition and safety material. A larger A-400M aircraft left Melsbroek at a later stage. A total of 60 to 70 soldiers joined the flights to protect the mission.
The aircraft will not head directly for Kabul: they will go to Islamabad first - after a stop in Greece to get extra fuel. In Islamabad, Belgium has an embassy monitoring the situation in Kabul.
From there, the evacuation mission will be set up. A first Belgian plane is expected to land in Kabul on Friday at the earliest. A time slot has been requested from the Americans who are in control of Kabul Airport.
There are talks 470 people (coming from 140 this morning) to be picked up by the Belgians at Kabul airport: Belgian nationals, their family, Afghans that worked for the Belgian military as well as interpreters or fixers, human rights activists or others that worked for a European organisation.
The question remains whether they will be able to reach the airport to be evacuated, since the Taliban rebels have seized control of all access roads to the airport.
Yesterday, a Falcon 7X with diplomats and a preparatory team on board took off to Islamabad.
Watch footage from the C130 preparing for take-off here: