About 130 Ukrainian citizens want to return home from Afghanistan at the present time, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.
“Now about 130 citizens want to return. We are developing safe exit routes. We do not abandon our people in trouble abroad and have already proved this many times. They also leave on their own. In a month, more than 30 citizens and their family members left Afghanistan on their own,” Kuleba wrote on his page on Twitter on Tuesday.
A plane from Afghanistan, sent to evacuate Ukrainian citizens and their families, has landed at the Boryspil international airport, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reports.
“Ukraine does not leave its citizens alone, no matter where they are,” said Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Malyar when meeting the plane at the airport.
There are 96 people on board, including citizens of Ukraine, as well as persons with a permanent residence permit in Ukraine, members of their families, persons whose return was requested by the Vatican and Canada.
Malyar noted that Ukraine will continue to provide assistance to its citizens and citizens of other countries in the future.
There are 159 Ukrainian citizens in Afghanistan who have stated their willingness to return home, work is underway on the next evacuation flights, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.
“According to our information, there are now 159 Ukrainian citizens in Afghanistan who have stated their willingness to return home. We work through our embassies in Tajikistan, Pakistan and Iran, as well as through the embassies of certain friendly countries that also have ties to the Taliban here in Ukraine, in order to organize the next evacuation flights,” Kuleba said at an online briefing on Thursday.
The Afghan authorities till the last did not believe in the withdrawal of the U.S. army from the country and considered all movements of American troops over the past six months to be military maneuvers, Mohammad Farajallah, an expert on the Near and Middle East, the editor-in-chief of the Ukraine in Arabic online portal, told the Experts Club YouTube channel.
“For some unknown reason, the Afghan leadership decided to reshuffle personnel in the army and appointed a person who had been undergoing long-term treatment in the UAE as the Minister of Defense,” the expert added.
Farajallah believes that due to these factors, the Afghan armed forces were in a deplorable state by the beginning of the large-scale offensive by the Taliban. In addition, according to the expert, the Afghan army is used to fighting according to the American model, and was not ready for the lack of massive air support and satellite intelligence.
“At the end of April, the U.S. military ceased serving Afghan aircraft and transmitting intelligence. They announced that they were beginning to withdraw their troops. The Afghan authorities, in turn, did not prepare (for the Taliban’s offensive) and did not understand the importance of the situation. Also, this situation damages the reputation of the CIA, which in its forecasts gave the Taliban at least six months to seize power,” the orientalist emphasized.
Another wrong decision of the Afghan authorities, according to the expert, was the concentration of military units in large cities. This led to the formation of a kind of besieged garrisons without supply lines, which rather quickly surrendered to the Taliban one after another.
The expert said the main factor behind the quick victory for the Taliban was the low morale of the Afghan army. The few pockets of resistance were brutally suppressed by the Taliban, but most of the army simply laid down their arms.
“The Taliban have worked with the heads of clans who have a huge impact on the local population, including soldiers of the Afghan army. When a tribal elder tells a local soldier to drop his weapon and go home, he has no choice but to obey, as tribal leaders have much more authority than inexperienced army commanders,” he noted.
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The plane of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine with evacuees from Afghanistan landed at Boryspil airport.
The broadcast is hosted by the Ukraine24 television channel. It has not yet been reported how many people were evacuated.
According to the Foreign Ministry, about 90 Ukrainians were expected to be evacuated in Afghanistan. Ukraine has already exported more than 250 of its citizens, their family members and foreigners.
Ukraine is in the process of the next stage of evacuation from Afghanistan, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
“The civilian sector of the Kabul airport has stopped working. The private plane, which Ukraine has agreed on, was the last civilian plane that took off from this airport before it closed a few days ago, just on August 23. But the military part of the airport is working, and we are now in stages of the next stage of evacuation, I cannot disclose the details yet, but there will be news soon,” Kuleba said on the air of the Ukraine 24 television channel on Friday.
The foreign minister said the Kabul military airport should also be closed by August 31. According to him, after August 31, the evacuation from Afghanistan will continue, “but it will no longer be necessary to negotiate with the Americans and the British, who currently control the military airport, but directly with the Taliban or those countries that the Taliban define as mediators for this process.”
Kuleba said that now Ukraine does not and cannot have relations with the Taliban, because in most countries of the world this organization is recognized as a terrorist one.
“We do not maintain diplomatic ties with them, but, surely, for the sake of the life and safety of citizens, for example, if there is a Taliban checkpoint in front of the airport, and we need to bring a car with Ukrainian citizens to the airport, then, of course, there are working channels, on which we are resolving these issues with the Taliban. But this in no way testifies to their international recognition,” he said.
Kuleba also recalled that about 90 Ukrainian citizens are awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan.