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US and allies conduct Kabul evacuation operation

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, got underway on 15 August as Taliban fighters took control of the city.

US military authorities took control of air traffic control at Hamid Karzai International Airport the same day as unrest broke out around the civilian passenger terminal to ensure the flow of international military flights could continue, according to media reports from Kabul.

Open-source flight tracking data from the region showed Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States had all dispatched military aircraft to Kabul up to the early hours of 16 August.

The bulk of aircraft heading to Kabul were US Air Force C-17s and C-130Js, with US Marine Corps KC-130Js also tracked flying into the Afghan capital. Flight operations by US aircraft have been intensive since 12 August when the Pentagon ordered additional forces to head to Kabul to evacuate US embassy personnel and Afghans linked to US forces.

UK Royal Air Force C-17s and C-130Js made flights into Kabul on 14–15 August to deliver troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade to set up an evacuation processing centre and bring out the first groups of UK evacuees.

Germany sent three protected A400M transports to Kabul early on 16 August through a third country reported to be Uzbekistan in what was the Bundeswehr's largest-ever evacuation operation. A crisis support team, an air mobile protection team, and paratroopers from the Division Schnelle Kräfte rapid reaction division were all on board.

The A400Ms were to have been followed by another Bundeswehr team in an Airbus 310 to provide transport and, if needed, medical support.

The Luftwaffe aircraft were to evacuate German citizens and Ortskräfte (local forces) that had supported the Bundeswehr when it was deployed in Afghanistan.

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