The first Belgian planes are expected to evacuate people from Kabul International airport, where four timeslots have been reserved, on Friday.
Around 580 people have registered with the Belgian embassy to be evacuated from Afghanistan, of which 344 are Belgian and 222 are of Afghan origin with family ties or protection status. The remaining passengers are Dutch and Luxembourg nationals and have family ties, according to De Standaard.
"Belgium Defence C-130 planes will evacuate the first people from Kabul airport to Pakistan's capital Islamabad. Several trips are planned," Federal defence minister Ludivine Dedonder said on Twitter on Friday morning.
The plan so farThe embassy in Islamabad has a list of names of people who will be repatriated, whilst an identification team will monitor who embarks on the plane. An e-mail seen by De Standaard sent to the evacuees included instructions about luggage, stating that only hand luggage per person will be permitted onto the flight, adding that pets are not allowed. Reports on the ground tell of multiple Taliban checkpoints on the route to the airport from Kabul city, which makes it difficult for those being evacuated to reach the airport. Although four aircraft are being used for the operation - including an Airbus A400M and a Falcon 7-X - only the C130s will make the journey between Kabul and Islamabad with each capable of transporting between 50 and 70 passengers. From Islamabad, the Airbus A400M will bring people to Belgium, reportedly to the military airport in Melsbroek. However, it is unclear whether multiple flights will be necessary. On Thursday, it was announced that 16 Belgians have already been evacuated from Afghanistan by Dutch security services on a transport plane heading to the Georgian capital Tbilisi, whilst France was also able to evacuate one Belgian national from Kabul.
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