Kamala Harris insists Afghanistan evacuation is ‘highest priority’
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Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban, with the insurgent group’s leaders able to pack the vacuum left behind by withdrawing US troops. Occupying forces – including military presences from British, German, Canadian and French servicemen – have remained in the country, with activities confined to evacuation only. The Taliban has permitted an air corridor that lets western powers funnel their citizens and select Afghan refugees across the world, but it could close at any moment.
The ongoing foreign presence in Afghanistan has painted a target on locals in their proximity.
Occupying militaries from several countries required interpreters to help them make sense of the land as they attempted to trim back branches from resident terrorist networks.
The Taliban’s deep hatred for America has left them fearing that they could face retribution from their country’s new leaders.
And responsibility for keeping them alive has fallen to the powers they helped, with each nation agreeing to resettle their fair share of refugees.
Afghanistan rescue mission – How many refugees UK, France and Germany have saved (Image: GETTY)
Afghanistan rescue mission: Thousands of refugees have departed Afghanistan after assisting the US (Image: GETTY)
Most of the powers in Afghanistan followed the US following its invasion of the country in 2001.
Given its responsibility, the US has so far evacuated the most people.
American forces have extracted 28,000 people since August 14, a mixture of both refugees and US nationals.
Critics have argued the US could, and should, take on 150,000 refugees as the country looks to others to resettle those it evacuates.
Canada was amongst nations able to provide quick relief to people stationed in Afghanistan.
Not long after Kabul fell, the Canadian government pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees already in the country.
As of August 20, it had evacuated 1,000 vulnerable Afghans.
Those arriving in the country will either resettle following government intervention or via private sponsors.
Afghanistan rescue mission: Afghanistan refugees taken in by country (Image: EXPRESS)
Ministers in the UK have committed to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees over time.
Last week, the RAF had managed to airlift 1,821 over 24 hours, to a total of 6,631.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace has warned the Government has “hours” left to evacuate any remaining people in its care.
UK efforts to extract either British nationals or Afghans will cease as the US pulls out.
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Afghanistan rescue mission: Afghan nationals have come second on the priority list for most nations (Image: GETTY)
Germany has airlifted roughly 2,000 people – including German nationals and refugees – from Afghanistan over the last week, following calls to take on at least 10,000.
The country is already one of the most welcoming nations for escaping Afghans.
Germany has accepted 147,994 refugees from the country in 2020, the most in Europe.
German politicians have fretted over accepting such high numbers, and they will likely serve as a focal point of elections coming next month.
French President Emmanuel Macron has joined other European nations in committing to resettling refugees.
He proclaimed aiding Afghans a “moral duty” in a phone call with President Biden, and French planes have taken their fair share.
The country has not revealed the total of refugees it has taken but has provided updates on planes arriving from Central Asia.
Last week, planes carried roughly 200 people per flight to Europe.