“Impossible” to evacuate all Afghans allied by August 31: EU

“Impossible” to evacuate all Afghans allied by August 31: EU


“It is mathematically impossible” that the US and its allies can evacuate tens of thousands of their Afghan personnel and their families by August 31, warned EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell on Saturday.

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“It is mathematically impossible” that the US and its allies can evacuate tens of thousands of their Afghan personnel and their families by August 31, warned EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell on Saturday.

Borrell, who spoke to AFP from Spain in a telephone interview, added that “we complained to the Americans” that their security at Kabul airport was too strict and that Afghans who worked for the Europeans tried to enter the country difficult, handicapped.

August 31 is the deadline the United States announced for the full withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, but President Joe Biden has announced that that deadline could be extended if the airlifts remain sustainable.

The US military is currently controlling Kabul airport and conducting its air traffic control operations.

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“As far as I know, Americans have not said at the moment that they will stay beyond August 31, but they may change their thinking,” said Borrell.

“They want to evacuate 60,000 people by the end of this month. That is mathematically impossible,” he said.

Borrell told AFP that for Europe’s evacuation efforts “the problem is access to the airport – US controls and security are very strict” and prevented Afghan personnel from passing through.

He said Brussels had filed a complaint with the US asking for “more flexibility”.

The EU’s top foreign policy official had accompanied the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on a visit to a Spanish air force base in Madrid, the approaches with European citizens and Afghan staff – and several American citizens – received.

He said only 150 of the 400 Afghans employed by the EU have so far been evacuated. “I am very aware that this is very insufficient,” he said.

“Planes take off while people are still on the tarmac,” he said.

Despite his desperation, Borrell denied that there had been tension between the European Union and the United States over the ongoing evacuations.

But questions need to be asked “why things happened this way” and provoked a future EU summit to look at the situation Europe is in and what the next steps should be in relation to Afghanistan.

Borrell, who told the European Parliament this week that the chaotic evacuation scenes were a “disaster” for the West, stressed that the European Union had been working for some time on a strategy that would propose a 50,000-strong reaction force to deal with future crises .

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