Poland halts Afghan airlift over safety

·1-min read

Poland says it has halted its airlift evacuations from Kabul's international airport over safety concerns, as Western nations prepare to end operations helping those fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

The decision comes as US President Joe Biden declared the day before that he is sticking to his August 31 deadline for completing the risky airlift from Kabul.

The Taliban, who have wrested back control of the country nearly 20 years after being ousted in a US-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, have insisted the airlift must end on August 31.

Any decision by Biden to stay longer could reignite a war between the group and the approximately 5800 American troops and other coalition forces who are executing the airlift at Kabul airport.

Marcin Przydacz, a Polish deputy foreign minister, said that a group taken from Kabul and now in Uzbekistan was the last evacuated by Poland. Another plane is on its way to Warsaw. He said his nation made its decision after consulting with US and British officials.

"After a long analysis of reports on the security situation we cannot risk the lives of our diplomats and of our soldiers any longer," Przydacz said.

US officials have expressed concerns about the risk of suicide bombings by the Islamic State militant group at Kabul's airport.

A number of troops will remain briefly to carry out some procedures that include closing the base, Przydacz said.

Poland has used over a dozen planes to bring hundreds of evacuees to Warsaw. Some later travelled on to other countries.

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