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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.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - World

Man with bow and arrow kills 5, wounds 2 in Norway

Police work at the scene in Kongsberg, Norway, on Oct. 13. Photo: Torstein Be/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

Police accused a 37-year-old Danish man on Monday of using "stabbing weapons" and a bow and arrow in a rampage that left five people dead and two others wounded in Norway last week.

The latest: Norwegian police said in a statement Monday that they have confiscated unspecified weapons, clarifying that the suspect seems to have first shot at some people with a bow and arrow, but then killed them with "stabbing weapon" in the town of Kongsberg.

Updated Oct 14, 2021 - World

Japan's new prime minister dissolves Parliament for elections

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during an October news conference in Tokyo. Photo: Toru Hanai/Pool/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of the country's Parliament on Thursday, clearing the way for elections on Oct. 31, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Kishida is seeking a mandate to govern 10 days after he was elected as prime minister by Japan's Parliament. The country faces the threat of a potential COVID-19 resurgence while trying to revive the world's third-largest economy and working with the U.S. and other allies to address security threats.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.