More evacuees land at Melsbroek as Belgium asks: “How long can operation continue?”

Nearly 500 people being evacuated from Afghanistan arrived at Melsbroek military airport outside Brussels on Wednesday morning.  The evacuees are mostly Afghan Belgians and people with ties to Belgium.

198 evacuees were flown in on board an A330 MRTT Airbus belonging to the Belgian armed forces.  The evacuees landed as more and more questions are being asked about how long the operation will be able to continue.  Defence minister Dedonder says the mission is reliant on the US.

Belgium has evacuated 1,300 people from Afghanistan via Islamabad in Pakistan.  Not all evacuees have ties with Belgium as several countries are collaborating in an evacuation mission.  A second flight with 272 evacuees arrived at Melsbroek later in the morning.

The evacuees are taken to the army base at Peutie for security and medical screening.

The daily De Tijd reports the words of defence minister Dedonder saying the evacuation must conclude Friday.  The US authorities want to finish the operation by the end of the month and time is also needed to evacuate military staff and equipment.

Belgium has plans for six evacuation flights a day, but the situation is considered day by day.

“The situation in Kabul is very chaotic” Ms Dedonder told Luxembourg TV.  “We are reliant on the security situation there.  US military guard the airport, but when they and other countries decide to leave, we will have to leave too."

Top stories