Belgian Defence evacuates 400 people from Kabul, repatriates 233 from Islamabad to Brussels

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Belgian C-130s CH-07 and CH-11 at Melsbroek airbase before their departure to Afghanistan © Vincent Bordignon (Belgian Defence)

Operation Red Kite in numbers

Since 20 August, Belgian Defence has been conducting evacuation flights from Afghanistan. Also this weekend, Defence set up an airlift between Kabul and Islamabad. The C-130s with tail numbers CH-07 and CH-11 made several flights per day between the Afghan and Pakistani capitals.

Yesterday, the evacuees left Islamabad with two other planes for Melsbroek military airport. An Air Belgium Airbus A340-300 registered OO-ABA and a military Airbus A330 MRTT with tail number T-055 landed in Melsbroek early in the morning of 23 August with 226 returnees on board. After landing, they proceeded to Peutie barracks, where a medical examination and a security check awaited them.

The circumstances in which the evacuations are taking place are very difficult due to the tense atmosphere in Kabul and the growing unrest among the population. However, the Belgian team on-site manages to follow its schedule as well as possible. Almost the entire operational transport fleet has been deployed. The aircraft continue to make a large number of flights every day. An overview:

Evacuation flights from Kabul to Islamabad:

August 20: a C-130 with 16 people evacuated
August 21: a C-130 with 84 people evacuated
August 21: a C-130 with 83 people evacuated
August 21: a C-130 with 60 people evacuated
August 22: a C-130 (CH-11) with 93 people evacuated
August 22: a C-130 (CH-07) with 47 evacuees
August 22: a C-130 (CH-11) with 12 people evacuated
August 22: a C-130 (CH-07) with 22 people evacuated
Total: 400 people evacuated from Kabul this weekend.

Arrival of the first two planes in Melsbroek Air Base:

23 August: Air Belgium A340-300 with 193 passengers on board, landed at 08.40.
23 August: A330 MRTT with 33 passengers on board, landed at 09:55.

A first Dutch flight, with 34 evacuees on board, landed at Schiphol (The Netherlands) on Saturday. The evacuees were then also transferred by bus to the Belgian military barracks of Peutie.

23 Aug 2021

Source: BelDefNews (Frédéric Renard)

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