NATO says it evacuated around 2,000 Afghans who worked for the alliance

8 September 2021

On 6 September 2021 NATO announced that it had evacuated around 2,000 Afghan former employees and their families from the Taliban-controlled country during August.

"Around 2,000 Afghans working for NATO, and their families, were evacuated from Afghanistan in August. Many of them are in the process of being resettled in Allied countries, including in the United States" read a statement released by the Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe, the alliance's European military command.

European military bases provide temporary accommodation for the people until NATO and national officials arrange international protection status, housing and support for them in allied countries. "NATO is committed to evacuate NATO employees and their families, those people we served with in Afghanistan, to a safe and secure environment," said Major General Mead, Allied Joint Force Command Naples' Deputy Chief of Staff –Plans.

In total, NATO allies claim to have evacuated over 120,000 people in August by air from Kabul airport.

On 31 August 2021 President Biden declared “the war in Afghanistan is now over” marking the conclusion of the 20-year war. The president said former President Trump left him with the difficult decision between leaving and escalating, claiming, “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit”. However, reports suggest that the Pentagon remains open to working with the Taliban in future counter-terrorism operations against Islamic State groups in Afghanistan. The President framed the evacuation effort of the past few weeks as an historical accomplishment, though his administration has faced criticism for the 200 US citizens and thousands of Afghan allies who are still thought to be stranded in Afghanistan.

According to reports, the United Kingdom has been in talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, about further evacuations from Afghanistan for British citizens and some Afghans. Between 150 and 250 people and their families currently trapped in Afghanistan were said by the UK defence secretary to be eligible for relocation. Qatar is also working with the Taliban to reopen the Kabul airport.

On 7 September, the Taliban announced their interim government, led by one of their founders Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy. New acting interior minister Sarajuddin Haqqani was head of the Haqqani network, a militant group affiliated with the Taliban which orchestrated some of the deadliest attacks during the war in Afghanistan and which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization. Reports also suggest that the Taliban has seized the Panjshir valley, the last holdout of opposition forces in Afghanistan.