Washington: U.S.-trained Afghan pilots and different personnel held in an Uzbek camp for a few month started leaving the nation on Sunday, one of many pilots instructed Reuters, underneath a U.S. deal that got here regardless of Taliban calls for for the return of the Afghans and their plane.
The primary group is a minimum of initially heading to the United Arab Emirates, the pilot stated, talking on situation of anonymity. The switch was anticipated to happen in a number of waves, beginning on Sunday and ending within the subsequent day or so.
Reuters was first to report that the pilots have began departing Uzbekistan. The U.S. State Division and Uzbekistan’s mission to the United Nations in New York didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Reuters beforehand disclosed stress on the Uzbek camp, with the pilots fearing being despatched again to Afghanistan and killed by the Taliban. The Taliban have stated they won’t perform reprisals after taking management of the nation in August.
It was not instantly clear what would occur to the 46 plane, together with A-29 mild assault planes and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, that the pilots flew to neighboring Uzbekistan as floor forces collapsed and the Taliban swept to energy.
Present and former U.S. officers have instructed Reuters that the Taliban pressured Uzbekistan handy over the plane and personnel.
John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan, applauded the U.S. evacuation effort, saying america owed it to the Afghan pilots.
“I hope we now have plans underway to verify the plane they obtained out get again to america and positively don’t return to the Taliban,” he stated.
The Taliban didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the Uzbek state of affairs. The group seized plane together with helicopters and drones as Afghan forces melted away final month, and it has referred to as for the return for the plane flown in another country earlier than its fighters seized energy in Kabul.
Afghanistan’s new rulers have stated they are going to invite former navy personnel to hitch the nation’s revamped safety forces and that they are going to come to no hurt.
That supply rings hole to Afghan pilots who spoke with Reuters. Even earlier than the Taliban takeover, the U.S.-trained, English-speaking pilots had change into their prime targets. Taliban fighters tracked them down and assassinated some pilots.
On the Uzbek camp, close to town of Termez, pilots had described feeling like prisoners, with extremely restricted motion, and inadequate meals and medication.
Hopes started to elevate a few week in the past when U.S. officers arrived to hold out biometric screening of the Afghans — lots of whom fled with simply the garments on their again.
(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)
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