Blinken: 1,500 Americans Still Awaiting Evacuation
By Staff, Agencies
As many as 1,500 American citizens may still need to be evacuated from Afghanistan and the Taliban have pledged to allow some departures after US troops leave the country on August 31, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.
Blinken told reporters that at least 4,500 American citizens of the 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan have departed.
This comes as US allies also work to evacuate, as the European Union on Tuesday called on the US to continue protecting the airport "as long as necessary" beyond its military's August 31 exit date, to remove more people in danger of potential Taliban reprisals.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo wrote Wednesday on Twitter that "given the development of the situation in Afghanistan" the country had decided to end its operations and evacuate remaining personnel.
Belgium's move was made "in consultation with European partners," he added.
Although the bloc's top diplomat Josep Borrell said at the weekend it would be "impossible" to get all Afghans who worked with western powers and their families out before the end of the month, US President Joe Biden has held firm to the cut-off date.
Belgian military planes evacuated around 1,100 people from Kabul via Islamabad between Friday and Tuesday evening, including European citizens, Afghans in danger and their families.
Besides Belgians and Afghans, citizens of the Netherlands, Denmark and Luxembourg were evacuated in the Belgian operation, as well as refugees with asylum claims in those countries.