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Flight with 258 evacuees touches down at Melsbroek Airbase

A third charter flight with 258 evacuees on board has landed at Melsbroek Airbase in Flemish Brabant. The Air Belgium plane brought the evacuees to Belgium from the Pakistani capital Islamabad where the Belgian Afghanistan evacuation operation is based. It landed at around 7:30am on Tuesday. As was the case with the evacuees that arrived in Belgium on Sunday and Monday those aboard the flight have been take to the nearby Peutie Barracks for a coronavirus test and identity and security checks. 

Among those aboard the flight from Islamabad were some of the 280 people the Belgian military evacuated from the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday.

Monday’s evacuees

The Belgian Foreign Ministry has said that of the 280 people evacuated from Kabul by the Belgian military on Monday 240 are Belgian nationals or have links with Belgium. Most of the remaining 40 evacuees were Dutch.

On Monday around 230 evacuees arrived at Melsbroek aboard two flights. They have since been screened and tested at Peutie Barracks. Most of them are Belgian nationals. However, the group also included 4 Afghans that had worked for the Belgian military as so-called “fixers” or interpreters. Their spouses and children are with them, bringing the total number to around 20. They are being cared for by the Belgian Army and will now have to apply for asylum.

Belgium has a list of people it wishes to evacuate from Afghanistan. The number of names on the list is changing constantly. A couple of days ago there were 580 names, including those of around 200 Afghans that had assisted the Belgian military in the past. 

700 evacuated by Belgian military so far

By Tuesday morning the Belgian military had evacuated 700 people from Kabul Airport. On Friday just 16 people were evacuated by the Belgian Army. The Dutch also evacuated 16 Belgians on Friday. During the week several flights took a total of around 400 evacuees from Kabul to Islamabad. Around 230 of these arrived in Belgium aboard two charter flights on Monday morning.

During, the course of the day on Monday the Belgian military flew around 280 people from Kabul to Islamabad. Some of these were aboard the flight that landed at Melsbroek on Tuesday morning. 

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