Last night, Canada evacuated 436 Canadian citizens and Afghan citizens destined for Canada says senior government official
According to the government official, the individuals were evacuated to a third country. They have now been transported on another flight on route to Canada. The official noted that security around the airport was very tense with violence now becoming common. Taliban check points around the area had been preventing evacuees from reaching the airport. Those who made it to the airport area are being assisted into the airport. Though, the airport was temporarily closed on August 22, Canadian Armed Forces have been assisting officials to identify Canadian citizens, Afghan nationals and permanent residents eligible for evacuation.
Canada has been successful in getting people to the Hamid Karzai International Airport during the temporary closure. For the first time, a senior government official disclosed that Canada’s special forces have been and continue to work outside the confines of the airport.
Members of Canada’s special forces are said to be working outside the airport to bring Canadian citizens, afghan citizens and their family through the security gate of the airport.
The senior government official could not provide further detail to avoid compromising the work of the security officials.
The senior government official said Canada is participating with 13 nations under the air bridge agreement. “The landing and departure schedule at the airport had been very strict,” said government source.
The strict scheduling has allowed the air bridge to function. Planes have limited time for landing and take off, making it very tight for loading of personnel and assets.
When determining how many passengers to load on the flight, air crew had to account for; number of eligible evacuees present on the ground and able to board the flight, aircraft performance, passenger capacity, fuel and weight considerations, density, altitude, temperatures.
The situation at the airport has been repeatedly described as volatile. Information applicable in the morning may not be applicable in the afternoon. It could also change hour to hour.
Canadians currently in Afghanistan have been advised to register in the registration of Canadians abroad. They have been advised to only go to the airport after assessing the situation.
Since August 19 when the allied forces regained control of the International airport, four flights have been conducted to bring evacuees to Canada; 198 on the 1st flight, 106 on the 2nd flight, 121on the 3rd flight and 436 on the 4th flight last night.
In addition, Canada has been flying allied members out of Afghanistan, though this is not counted.