German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced on Saturday that the nation’s military has evacuated about 2,000 people from the capital of Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover last week.
“The situation is difficult, but with our capabilities and everything that comes up on the ground, we will keep on taking out as many as possible,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters during a press briefing.
Those evacuated include an unspecified number of Germans, Afghans, and nationals of international partners, according to a statement by the German Foreign Ministry.
In addition, Germany deployed two helicopters to Kabul overnight and they will be ready to begin evacuations out of the city on Saturday. The efforts will be coordinated with the United States, among other allies, who are working around the clock to keep Hamid Karzai International Airport secured.
The helicopters will be in Kabul for individuals that need to be picked up in order to be transferred to the airport f0r evacuation, though German officials noted that the plan for their specific deployment is not confirmed yet.
General Eberhard Zorn, the German chief of defense, said the air force will provide baby food and hygienic items that are desperately needed at the airport.
Nearly one week after Taliban insurgents took over the country, Afghans who are desperate to flee the war-torn nation continue to overwhelm Kabul’s airport.
Several officials, who denied being identified as they were not authorized to discuss ongoing military operations, told The Associated Press that gates to the airport were closed overnight due to overcrowding in the area, and processing was due to restart again Saturday morning.
In other parts of Europe; Italy confirmed they successfully evacuated 207 Afghan citizens, who have arrived in Rome on Saturday from Kuwait. Over the last five days, the Italian military says they have evacuated nearly 1,000 Afghan nationals.
The Dutch defense ministry says that the first group of Afghans evacuated from Kabul on Dutch military transport planes has arrived at a barracks in the northern Netherlands on Saturday that has been transformed into a temporary accommodation center. Dutch authorities have so far managed five flights out of Kabul, with nearly 300 passengers. It is not clear how many of them were Afghans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.