NewsSwiss, Norway ends Kabul evacuation

Swiss, Norway ends Kabul evacuation

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AFP Bureaus: The Swiss government said Friday it had ended its evacuation operation out of Kabul after helping airlift 385 people to Switzerland following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Norway’s foreign ministry also announced today that its evacuations from Afghanistan were over with two final planes touching down in Oslo.

Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement that 34 Swiss nationals and 51 people with permanent Swiss residence permits were among those in Switzerland evacuated over the past two weeks, with assistance from Germany.

Local employees of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and their families — 218 people in all — were also among those flown out in the “most extensive evacuation campaign in Swiss history.”

But Bern said 11 citizens and 16 permanent residents of the wealthy Alpine nation remained in the war-torn country, including some working for international organizations on the ground.

“The embassy in Islamabad, which is responsible for consular affairs in Afghanistan, is in contact with them,” the foreign ministry said, adding that it was “continuing to work intensively on possible options to enable these people to leave Afghanistan as well.”

The foreign ministry also said it was “concerned at the “deteriorating security situation in Kabul, and strongly condemns yesterday’s series of attacks.”

Norway announces completion of Afghan evacuation

“The last Norwegian plane from Kabul has just landed,” Norweigan Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide told AFP via email in the afternoon, adding that around 20 people had been on board.

Including a plane that landed Friday morning, over 1,100 people have been brought from Afghanistan to Norway since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul.

Among the Afghans brought to Norway is the former minister for oil and mines Nargis Nehan.

Around 30 Norwegian army medics remain at a field hospital at Kabul airport that is treating dozens of people wounded in the Thursday bomb attack at the entrance, claimed by the Islamic State group.

“I can’t say exactly when Norwegian forces will leave Kabul,” but “we are starting preparations,” Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters Thursday.

The planned withdrawal would stretch over “several days,” he added.

Neighbouring Sweden, which also completed its Kabul evacuations on Friday, said the same day that it would suspend development aid payments to the country under the new Taliban regime.

“We won’t send any further aid, no money that could one way or another reach the regime we see today,” said Maria Lundberg, head of the government’s SIDA aid agency.

Afghanistan is Sweden’s top development aid recipient, to the tune of around one billion kronor (100 million euros, $115 million) per year.

SIDA said that it could resume aid on preconditions including “respect for women’s rights, that they can go to school, but also guarantees against corruption”.

Since the Taliban seized control of the country on August 15 as US and NATO troops left, Afghans and foreign nationals have been racing to flee.

The huge crowds waiting to be evacuated were the target of twin suicide bombs outside Kabul airport on Thursday that killed at least 85 people, including 13 US troops.

AFP
AFP is a leading global news agency for comprehensive, verified coverage of events shaping the world.

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