Italy’s last evacuation flight to leave Kabul on Friday after deadly attack

Italy's last evacuation flight to leave Kabul on Friday after deadly attack
The belongings of those who were waiting to be evacuated left at the site of the August 26 twin suicide bombing which killed scores of people outside Kabul airport. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP
Italy's last airlift from Afghanistan will leave 'within hours' with a top NATO envoy on board, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Friday, a day after an ISIS attack on Kabul airport killed at least 85 people.

The last Italian C-130 transport plane will leave the airport on Friday afternoon and is scheduled to arrive in Rome Saturday morning.

The last diplomats and military – of whom Italy sent 1,500 to help with the airlift – are due to take the last flight as well as some 50 Afghan nationals.

Di Maio said all the Italian nationals who wanted to leave had been evacuated, along with around 4,900 Afghan civilians.

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“In the next few hours the last C-130 will leave Kabul airport,” Di Maio told a press conference in Rome with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

On board will be Italian consul Tommaso Claudi, who has been widely praised for his work in assisting evacuees, as well as Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian diplomat serving as NATO’s senior civil representative to Afghanistan.

“Leaving Kabul with a heavy heart. My gratitude to all NATO allies & partners for a massive evacuation effort from Afghanistan despite all challenges,” Pontecorvo tweeted.

“NATO played a key role in getting thousands out and is committed to getting others to safety.”

Afghans and foreign nationals have been racing to leave Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control, with many leaving on evacuation flights organised by western countries.

The huge crowds waiting to be evacuated were the target of twin suicide bombs outside Kabul airport on Thursday. The attack is known to have killed at least 85, including 13 US soldiers.

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