D.he first Bundeswehr aircraft started the evacuation mission in Afghanistan under difficult conditions at Kabul airport. After hours of delay and waiting in the air, the A400M landed there on Tuesday night. The machine dropped paratroopers who were supposed to secure the rescue operation, took people to be fled on board and quickly started again.
“With those to be protected, the machine is now on its way to Tashkent / Uzbekistan,” said the Ministry of Defense on Twitter. According to information from Bild (Online) from government circles, only seven people from the official list of excursions were on board on the return flight because they could no longer be brought to the airport due to the night curfew.
The A400M machine had previously circled over the airport for five hours, which was temporarily closed due to chaotic conditions on the tarmac. The gasoline would not have lasted much longer, the dpa learned in security circles. Another Bundeswehr transport aircraft had previously had to break off the approach to Kabul and fly to Tashkent to refuel.
The two planes are intended to bring German citizens and Afghan local staff who previously worked or are still working for the Bundeswehr or federal ministries to Uzbekistan. From the Tashkent hub there, charter planes will then continue to Germany. The two A400M had started in the morning from Wunstorf in Lower Saxony towards Kabul and landed in Baku in Azerbaijan.
Apparently more than 600 people on board US aircraft
A US Air Force plane, meanwhile, reportedly brought around 640 Afghan civilians to safety in a single flight. The “Defense One” website published a photo of the packed interior of the C-17 transport plane on Monday, in which the Afghans are sitting on the floor – which is no longer visible for all the people.
Defense One reported that panicked Afghans pulled themselves into the plane in Kabul via the half-open ramp. The crew decided to fly instead of forcing the people off board. From security circles it was said that 640 civilians got out of the plane after landing in Qatar. According to the manufacturer Boeing, the huge cargo plane is actually designed for up to 134 passengers.
The US Department of Defense initially did not confirm the report. After the takeover of Kabul by the militant Islamist Taliban, dramatic scenes had taken place at the airport on Monday. Desperate people tried to get on flights. They ran onto the tarmac, climbed, among other things, over turntable ladders to get on an airplane. As a result, air traffic was temporarily suspended.
The paratroopers from the Rapid Forces Division, who were deposed by the Bundeswehr in Kabul, are now supposed to help US soldiers restore order at the airport and enable the evacuation to proceed safely.
A third German A400M, which is equipped for medical transport, and an Airbus A310 MRTT also started on Monday from Wunstorf to Tashkent.