Factbox: Evacuations from Afghanistan by country
(Reuters) - The United States and other Western powers are pressing on with the evacuation from Afghanistan of their nationals and some of their Afghan staff from Kabul airport, from where about 8,000 people have been flown out since Sunday, a Western security official said.
Thousands of people have desperately tried to get past Taliban roadblocks and U.S. troops to reach the airport. On Thursday the Taliban urged crowds of Afghans waiting outside it to return home, saying they did not want to hurt anyone, a day after firing at protesters and killing three.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday about 100 EU staff and 400 Afghans working with the EU and their families had been evacuated, but that 300 more Afghans were still trying to leave.
Britain is unable to evacuate unaccompanied children from Afghanistan, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Thursday when asked about footage of a young child being handed over a wall to Western soldiers at Kabul airport.
Britain's ambassador said his team had evacuated about 700 people on Tuesday and hoped to scale up the operation in coming days.
A spokeswoman for Britain's foreign ministry said that since Sunday, approximately 1,200 people had left Kabul on flights for the United Kingdom.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday that in the previous 24 hours U.S. military flights had evacuated approximately 2,000 more people.
The Pentagon is aiming to evacuate up to 22,000 Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants, their families and other at-risk people.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said there were about 4,500 U.S. military personnel in Kabul and there "have been no hostile interactions with the Taliban and our lines of communication with Taliban commanders remain open."
Germany has evacuated more than 1,000 people since Monday, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter.
France has evacuated 395 people from Kabul since the Taliban takeover, including 138 on a flight due to arrive in Paris later on Thursday. Of the 395, 308 are Afghan nationals.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio was quoted by local media as saying some 500 Afghan residents who have collaborated with Rome have already been transferred to Italy with their families. He said Italy plans to transfer 2,500 people in total.
Spain plans to airlift around 500 people including Spanish embassy staff and Afghans who worked with them and their families from Kabul, radio station Cadena SER said on Wednesday, citing sources close to the evacuation.
The Dutch defence ministry said on Thursday it evacuated 79 people from Afghanistan, including 69 Germans and 9 Dutch citizens. The Dutch have more flights planned later in the day.
The Netherlands said it got 35 of its citizens and 20 other foreign nationals out of Afghanistan on Wednesday. A flight, which included 16 Belgians, two Germans and two British passport holders landed in Amsterdam late on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday his country's rescue operation to evacuate Czechs and Afghans who worked for the Czech embassy or as interpreters had ended. The country sent three flights to Kabul since Sunday, evacuating Czech citizens, as well as 170 Afghans.
Denmark on Thursday evacuated some 320 people, including human rights activists, translators and other local employees with a Danish connection, from Kabul to Islamabad, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told journalists.
Denmark has also offered to help allied countries with evacuating their citizens.
"The flights have happened in an orderly way when you take the circumstances into account, and we have a really good logistics set-up in place to get people into the airport, over to the planes and on to Pakistan," Defence Minister Trine Bramsen said.
Denmark's prime minister said on Wednesday that 84 people were evacuated that day from Afghanistan on a military plane.
Hungary said on Wednesday it had organised the evacuation of a group of 26 Hungarian nationals working as contractors from Afghanistan and they would return to Hungary shortly on a flight organised by another country.
Poland has evacuated around 50 people from Afghanistan, a deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday, a day after Poland said it had around 100 people on an evacuation list.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, facing criticism over plans to evacuate citizens and some Afghans from Kabul, said on Thursday that bad weather in the coming days may delay rescue flights.
Australia has evacuated 26 people on one flight from Afghanistan, and Morrison said a further 76 were transported out of Kabul late on Thursday on a British plane.
Japan is in close contact with a "small number" of its nationals still in Afghanistan, seeking to ensure their safety after Taliban militants took over Kabul, the government's top spokesman said on Wednesday.
Japan has closed its embassy and evacuated the last 12 personnel, officials said this week.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that Canadian Armed Forces assets and personnel have arrived on the ground at the Kabul airport, and two C-17 planes will be making regular flights in and out of Kabul for as long as possible.
However, Trudeau said the Taliban were still blocking access to the airport.
"To get many people out, as many as we want, is going to be almost impossible in the coming weeks," Trudeau told reporters. "Our focus is to get as many people out as quickly as possible."
An Indian air force plane evacuated over 170 people from Kabul on Tuesday, including India's ambassador to Afghanistan, a government official said.
President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has evacuated 552 citizens from Afghanistan so far, including around 200 people flown from Kabul to Islamabad by a military plane on Wednesday. A Turkish Airlines plane was scheduled to bring them to Istanbul from Islamabad later the same day.
The Swiss government said it was working to evacuate 230 local aid agency workers and their families from Afghanistan and bring them to Switzerland.
Around 40 local employees who worked for the Swiss Development Agency in Kabul and their families will be allowed into Switzerland in a humanitarian operation, the government said.
(Compiled by Catherine Evans, Hugh Lawson and Steve Scherer; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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