C-130s used in Afghan evacuation operation now back in Belgium

The two Belgian C-130 military transport planes that had been deployed as part of the Operation Red Kite evacuation mission have arrived back in Belgium. The planes had been used to ferry evacuees between the Afghan capital Kabul and the Pakistani capital Islamabad where Operation Red Kite was based. 

The two planes touched down at Melsbroek Military Airport on Saturday evening. Military sources say that around 20 passengers were on board. The arrival of the two C-130 brings means that the mission is now completely over. 

The two planes arrived at Melsbroek from Larnaca on Cyprus where they had made a stop en route from Islamabad. Almost 200 Belgian military personnel were sent to Islamabad as part of Operation Red Kite.

On the social media platform Twitter, the Belgian Air Force wrote "The arrival of the remaining C-130s at Melsbroek Air Base marks the end of #NEORedKite for the Air Force. This concludes a successful and safe evacuation mission”. 

The two C-130s left for Islamabad on 18 August, three days after the Taliban had taken the Afghan capital Kabul. A third plane, a CH-01 left for Pakistan a couple of days later.

Operation Red Kite was successful in evacuating 1,416 people from Kabul to Islamabad. A detachment was also present at Kabul Airport. For the most part those evacuated to Islamabad continued their journey to Belgium aboard civilian charter flights operated by Air Belgium. 

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