The Taliban’s rapid attack to gain control of Afghanistan forced the evacuation of American and British citizens still on the territory of the country and Afghans who cooperated with Western structures. Canadian Special Forces are also preparing to evacuate their embassy in Kabul.
Ashraf Ghani’s government, which has called on the Taliban for his departure as a condition for starting peace settlement talks, is in control of Afghanistan’s most diminutive region. On Thursday evening, it was reported that the Taliban had captured another provincial capital. Kandahar, located in the south of the country, fell into their hands. On Friday morning, Reuters reported that Kandahar had fallen. The Taliban now controls 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Earlier on Thursday, the Taliban entered Herat, Afghanistan’s third largest city. They also took control of the city of Ghazni, the capital of the province of the same name in eastern Afghanistan. Ghazni is the nearest provincial capital to Kabul, the provincial capital that the Taliban has controlled since the offensive began in May, when the final withdrawal of international coalition forces from Afghanistan began.
The rapid attack of the Taliban, seeking to control all countries and from Kabul’s perspective, forced the evacuation of American and British citizens still on Afghan soil, and Afghans who cooperated with Western structures. Washington announced that it would send 3,000 to Afghanistan. To oversee this operation, London will send 600 soldiers. Canadian Special Forces are also preparing to evacuate their embassy in Kabul on Thursday.
Evacuation of US citizens from Afghanistan
US Defense and State Secretary Lloyd Austin and Anthony Blinken spoke by phone Thursday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to explain the reasons for the significant US drawdown in Afghanistan and Thursday’s decision to evacuate the remaining US citizens in Afghanistan. country.
The defense and foreign ministers emphasized that the current Afghan government can count on the determination of the United States to maintain diplomatic relations and cooperation in the field of security, including counter-terrorism. At the same time, they emphasized that in the face of the attack of the Taliban, who already control 12 out of 34 districts and are approaching Kabul, it is necessary to evacuate American citizens and intensify the SIV program of special flights for Afghans who previously cooperated with the Americans. who have obtained special immigrant visas to the United States. The entire operation will be supervised by 3000. American soldiers.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price announced at a press conference in Washington that the mission of the troops will be temporary and that the US embassy in Kabul will remain open, although only essential personnel will remain there. Price also announced an acceleration of the transfer of Afghan translators and other US military aides eligible for special visas. Only on Thursday, 1.2 thousand people were transferred from the country in this way. Afghans, and other flights, including to Fort Lee Military Base in Virginia, will be organized daily. The deployment of additional troops is necessary due to the almost complete withdrawal of troops from the country, as well as the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country associated with the Taliban offensive. “If the major cities fall so quickly and practically without a fight, it only shows that the Afghans are satisfied with our group’s appearance in them,” a Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera television on Thursday. He also stressed that “the path to political organization is still open.”
London sends hundreds of soldiers to Afghanistan to help evacuate the British
The British Ministry of Defense announced, Thursday evening, the dispatch of about 600 British soldiers to Afghanistan to help the British leave the country. The British Foreign Office advised all Britons to leave Afghanistan last Friday, but it is estimated that there are still about 4,000 of them there.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said protecting British citizens, military personnel and former Afghan support staff was a priority for the government and “everything we can do to keep them safe”. “I have instructed the deployment of additional military personnel to support the diplomatic presence in Kabul, help British nationals leave the country and support the relocation of former Afghan workers who risked their lives serving on our side,” he said. He added that the transfer of soldiers to Afghanistan will begin in the coming days.
The Ministry of Defense also said that the British Embassy in Afghanistan would be significantly reduced but would remain open, and Ambassador Laurie Bristow would be moved to a safer neighborhood in Kabul.
Canadian embassy workers prepare to evacuate
Canadian special forces are also preparing to evacuate the Canadian embassy in Kabul, CBC public broadcaster reported Thursday, citing military sources.
According to Global News, there is also a group of Afghan families with children in the Canadian embassy building. Embassy staff – according to Global News sources – are preparing for evacuation, including destruction of confidential documents. Global News says there are counter-terrorism and hostage-aid specialists in departments to help evacuate the embassy. CBC sources said that Canadian forces will cooperate with US and British forces. As confirmed by CBC, the decision to close and potentially evacuate the Canadian Embassy in Kabul will be taken by the federal government.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, during a visit to Vancouver, said that even before information emerged about the Taliban’s takeover of Kandahar, talks about the embassy in Kabul were taking place all the time due to the deteriorating situation. “There is a contingency plan in place to ensure the safety of our employees,” Sagan said.
On Wednesday night, the Canadian military approved another flight for a plane carrying Afghans. These are the people who assisted the Canadian Forces during their mission in Afghanistan. The evacuation from Afghanistan affects entire families, and the federal government will continue to support Afghans who have benefited from Canadian forces, the defense minister wrote Thursday. The first plane carrying evacuees from Afghanistan arrived in Canada last week. It is a special immigration program of the Canadian government and is intended for thousands of people, according to an announcement by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
According to government figures, Canadian forces have been in Afghanistan for 13 years. From 2001 to 2014, about 40,000 soldiers of the Canadian contingent of NATO forces served there. 158 people were killed. The withdrawal of Canadian forces began in 2014.
Main image source: PAP / Environmental Protection Agency
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