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Afghanistan: First Bundeswehr aircraft flies people out of Afghanistan

Afghanistan : First Bundeswehr aircraft flies people out of Afghanistan

The Bundeswehr rescue mission is off to a slow start. Chaos at Kabul airport prevents the start of the evacuation for hours. During the night, a plane is finally able to land.

The first Bundeswehr aircraft has begun its evacuation mission in Afghanistan under difficult conditions at Kabul airport. After hours of delays and holding patterns in the air, the A400M was able to land there Tuesday night.

The aircraft dropped off paratroopers to secure the rescue operation, took aboard people to be flown out and quickly took off again. "With people to be protected, the aircraft is now on its way to Tashkent/Uzbekistan," the Defense Ministry announced on Twitter.

Via Tashkent to Germany

The A400M aircraft had previously circled for five hours over the airport, which was temporarily closed due to chaotic conditions on the tarmac. The fuel would not have lasted much longer, it was said. Earlier, another Bundeswehr transport plane had had to abort its approach to Kabul and fly to Tashkent for refueling.

The two planes are to take German citizens and local Afghan staff who used to work or still work for the Bundeswehr or federal ministries to Uzbekistan first. From the Tashkent hub there, they are then to continue their journey to Germany on charter planes. The two A400Ms had taken off in the morning from Wunstorf in Lower Saxony in the direction of Kabul and made a stopover in Baku in Azerbaijan.

Restoring order

The paratroopers from the Rapid Forces Division, who have been dropped into Kabul, are now to assist U.S. soldiers in restoring order at the airport and ensuring that the evacuation proceeds safely.

Dramatic scenes had unfolded at the airport Monday following the takeover of Kabul by the militant Islamist Taliban. Desperate people tried to get on flights, videos and pictures posted on social media showed. They ran onto the tarmac, climbing aerial ladders, among other things, to get on a plane. As a result, air traffic was temporarily suspended.

A third German A400M, equipped for medical transports, and an Airbus A310 MRTT took off Monday from Wunstorf in Lower Saxony to Tashkent.

(Original text: dpa, Translation: Mareike Graepel)