US, Spain thank UAE for help in Afghan evacuation drive


Abu Dhabi - The US on Sunday ordered six commercial airlines to help transport people.

By Agencies

Published: Sun 22 Aug 2021, 1:49 PM

Last updated: Sun 22 Aug 2021, 11:44 PM

US President Joe Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have thanked the UAE for assisting in the massive evacuation operations from Afghanistan. US President Joe Biden has thanked the UAE for assisting in the massive evacuation operations from Afghanistan.

In a phone call to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Saturday night, Biden thanked the UAE’s leadership for their support in helping evacuate American diplomats and nationals from Afghanistan, as well as nationals of allied countries and Afghans.

“We highly appreciate the UAE’s humanitarian efforts in facilitating the safe transit of American citizens, embassy employees, and foreigners who were evacuated from Kabul on their way to a third country,” said President Biden, adding that this represents the strong and everlasting partnership between the UAE and the US.

The US on Sunday ordered six commercial airlines to help transport people after their evacuation from Afghanistan as Washington sought to step up the pace of departures of Americans and at-risk Afghans from Kabul.

The Pentagon said it has called up 18 commercial aircraft from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air and others to carry people from temporary locations after they landed from Afghanistan.

In Kabul, the Taliban fired in the air and used batons to force people desperate to flee to form orderly queues outside the airport, a day after seven people were killed in a crush at the gates.

Sky News showed soldiers on a wall on Saturday attempting to pull the injured from the crush and spraying people with a hose to prevent them from getting dehydrated.

A Nato official said at least 20 people have died in the past seven days in and around the airport. Some were shot and others died in stampedes.

The Taliban moved to confront the first stirrings of armed resistance since capturing nearly all of Afghanistan earlier this month. Anti-Taliban fighters claimed to have seized three mountainous districts, and a prominent militia commander in the only province not yet under Taliban control and pledged to fight back if attacked.

The Taliban said hundreds of its fighters were heading to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few parts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the group.

But Ahmad Massoud, leader of the Panjshir Valley, said he hoped to hold peaceful talks with the Taliban but that his forces were ready to fight.

“We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way forward is through negotiation,” he told Reuters by telephone. “We do not want a war to break out.”

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said on Sunday that Afghanistan should never again be allowed to shelter “terrorist organisations”, and called for inclusive dialogue to resolve the crisis following the Taliban’s takeover.

In a communique issued after a special meeting called by Riyadh to discuss the situation in the war-torn country, the organisation said it would dispatch envoys to Afghanistan to stress the importance of “peace, stability, and national reconciliation”.

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