Updated Aug 26, 2021 - World

U.S. allies scramble to leave Afghanistan

French Special Forces Soldiers stand guard near a military plane
French Special Forces Soldiers stand guard near a military plane at airport in Kabul on August 17. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. allies have rapidly begun to wind down their evacuation operations from Kabul amidst heightened security concerns and ahead of the August 31 withdrawal deadline.

Driving the news: The U.S. is in control of Kabul's airport but plans to end its operation by Aug. 31, which the Taliban considers a red line, and needs time to evacuate its troops. Thursday's attack at the airport will only increase the urgency. In the meantime, allies including Canada, Germany and Poland have already ended their evacuations.

The big picture: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement condemning the attack at the Kabul airport Thursday that the U.K. is approaching "the very end" of its evacuation operation.

  • Canada's ended its evacuations Thursday, according to acting chief of the defense staff General Wayne Eyre, Reuters reported.
  • French Prime Minister confirmed Thursday that France's evacuations would end on Friday evening.
  • On Tuesday, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said the country was on the "back end of this campaign now," even as reports surfaced of Australian visa holders not being able to enter the Kabul airport, per the Guardian.
  • Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday night ET that the country ended its evacuation operations.
  • Poland also announced Wednesday evening ET it completed its last evacuation, according to the Associated Press.
  • The Czech Republic completed its operations last week, per AP.
  • Denmark made its final evacuation flight Wednesday, and Hungary ended its evacuations Thursday, per Reuters.
  • Turkey began evacuating its military troops from Afghanistan Wednesday, a process that will take up to 36 hours, Reuters reported.
  • Germany also ended its evacuation efforts Thursday, according to Deutsche Welle.
  • Norway announced Thursday afternoon it could "no longer assist" with evacuations following explosions at the airport. "The doors at the airport are now closed and it is no longer possible to get people in," according to Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Editor's note: This story has been updated and corrected to note that there was only one explosion, not a second one near the Baron Hotel as the Defense Department incorrectly announced Thursday.

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