The first French military plane carrying French evacuees from Afghanistan landed overnight in Abu Dhabi, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Tuesday, adding that France was working on running further flights out of Afghanistan.
The flight is due to arrive in France on Tuesday afternoon, according to an official from the defense ministry.
Military flights evacuating diplomats and civilians resumed early on Tuesday after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared of thousands of people desperate to flee after the Taliban seized the capital.
The number of civilians at the airport had thinned out, a Western security official at the facility told Reuters, a day after chaotic in which US troops fired to disperse crowds and people clung to a US military transport plane as it taxied for take-off.
Watch: Afghan citizens trying to flee the country cling on to a US Air Force plane as it takes off from #Kabul airport amid the #Taliban takeover. #Afghanistan https://t.co/2vc7iuFmgj pic.twitter.com/sO0ltaUeqw— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 16, 2021
“Many people who were here yesterday have gone home,” the official said. Reuters witnesses, however, could still hear occasional shots coming from the direction of the airport, while streets elsewhere in the city appeared calm.
US forces took charge of the airport, their only way to fly out of the country, on Sunday, as the militants were winding up a dramatic week of advances across the country with their takeover of the capital without a fight.
The Taliban captured Afghanistan’s biggest cities in days rather than the months predicted by US intelligence, in many cases after demoralized government forces surrendered despite years of training and equipping by the United States and others.