Taliban In Control, European Powers Scramble To Evacuate From Afghanistan.

Taliban In Control, European Powers Scramble To Evacuate From Afghanistan

The Taliban have reached Kabul and are poised to take power in Afghanistan

Kabul:

European powers present in Afghanistan moved today to evacuate their nationals and local staff as the Taliban were poised to take power.

Germany moved dozens of diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Kabul to the airport ahead of an evacuation planned from Monday, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter.

"We are not going to risk our people falling into the hands of the Taliban," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Bild daily.

France also set up a temporary diplomatic mission near the airport, officials said.

Other NATO members including Britain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Spain have also announced they are evacuating their embassy personnel.

The French presidency said it would "do the utmost to guarantee the safety" of French nationals still in the country as well as Afghan staff.

In a statement, it said the evacuation involving several hundred people had begun in April.

"France is one of the few countries that has maintained the capability... to protect the Afghans who worked for the French army, as well as journalists, human rights activists, artists and Afghan figures who are especially threatened," the statement said.

Paris has vowed an "exceptional effort" to welcome Afghans under threat for their human rights work. More than 600 Afghans employed in French organisations in the country have already arrived in France along with their families, the government said on Friday.

Britain is deploying around 600 troops to help evacuate its roughly 3,000 nationals from the country, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the "vast bulk" of remaining embassy staff in Kabul would return to the UK.

He was to hold fresh crisis talks on Wednesday, recalling parliament from its summer break to discuss what Britain, which lost 457 troops in the two-decade war, should do next.

Italy's defence ministry said a first military plane would arrive today to begin "emergency evacuation" operations.

Italy, which once had one of the largest Western contingents in Afghanistan totalling some 50,000 troops over 20 years, already repatriated its last troops in June.

Denmark and Norway will temporarily shut their Kabul embassies while Finland will evacuate up to 130 local Afghan workers, ministers from the Nordic countries said on Friday.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde also noted that the country's evacuees would include Afghan interpreters and other local staff.

Meanwhile, the Dutch embassy in Kabul was evacuated overnight and is operating from a makeshift office near the airport, the country's foreign ministry said Sunday.

The Netherlands said Friday that it would take in Afghan interpreters and some other embassy staff.

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