The first New Zealanders have been evacuated from Kabul International Airport and four Defense Forces troops are on the ground in Afghanistan.
The government’s mercy mission to save the growing number of New Zealanders – 161 as of Friday – and Afghan allies in Afghanistan have so far begun in earnest. The Foreign and Trade Ministry confirmed that a New Zealand family had been relocated to Europe by a “partner government”.
Complicating the already dangerous mission, the situation outside Kabul Airport was deteriorating, as mobs stormed a Taliban checkpoint hoping to leave the country.
In response to a “terrible” humanitarian crisis, the government has pledged 3 3 million in aid to the Red Cross and the UN refugee agency.
* The Kiwis and Afghan allies have deployed a defense force to reach Kabul airport.
* Afghanistan: Most of the 37 Afghans rescued by New Zealand have fled Kabul.
* Afghanistan: The number of people trapped in New Zealand has doubled to 104.
Rear Admiral Jim Gulmore, commander of the Joint Forces New Zealand, said the evacuation air force Hercules was expected to fly to Kabul next week.
Hercules, who left Auckland on Thursday, left Perth, Australia on Friday afternoon. It was expected to arrive in the Middle East on Saturday and join the remaining 80 rescue crews traveling on commercial flights.
The situation inside the airport looks better but outside it is getting worse. Our planes will only move forward in Afghanistan when we are convinced that the security situation allows it.
He said four Defense Forces soldiers were on the ground at the airport to set up a center for the evacuation of New Zealand.
“These four personnel will be added in the coming hours. The personnel we have on the ground are helping to facilitate the evacuation process.
He said all troops going to Kabul would be armed and “work under the principles of self-defense.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) said 161 New Zealanders and their families in Afghanistan were eligible for evacuation by Friday. The number of New Zealanders had risen to 131 on Thursday.
The spokesman said Mufti would not confirm further details about the family being evicted from Kabul for confidential reasons.
“Our ability to help people on the ground is very limited,” the spokesman said in a statement. “Access to Kabul airport has become extremely difficult and travel from the provinces to Kabul is almost impossible.”
“We are also focusing on the fact that the evacuation window from Afghanistan is very limited, and we cannot guarantee that we can help all those we want to evacuate.”
The spokesman said officials had continued to help “a small number” of Afghans who had been resettled by the government because of their work or involvement in the New Zealand Defense Force, police, relief missions or Operation Burnham Inquiry. Is.
Members of a group of 37 Afghans employed by the Defense Forces during years of deployment in the country have confirmed this. Equipment Mfat’s list of the most resettled people.
The government will provide 3 3 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nania Mahuta said in a statement Friday.
“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is alarming, millions are in need of assistance and hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the recent conflict – 80 percent of whom are women and girls,” Mahota said.
“We also call on those in power to protect the rights and freedoms of women and girls as this humanitarian crisis worsens.”