U.S.-trained Afghan pilots and different personnel held in an Uzbek camp for a couple of month started leaving the nation on Sunday, one of many pilots advised Reuters, below a U.S. deal that got here regardless of Taliban calls for for the return of the Afghans and their plane.
The first group is not less than 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 Department 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.
Current and former U.S. officers have advised 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 the United States owed it to the Afghan pilots.
“I hope we have plans underway to make sure the aircraft they got out get back to the United States and certainly do not 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 a foreign country earlier than its fighters seized energy in Kabul.
Afghanistan’s new rulers have stated they may invite former army personnel to affix the nation’s revamped safety forces and that they may 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 develop into their prime targets. Taliban fighters tracked them down and assassinated some pilots.
At the Uzbek camp, close to the town of Termez, pilots had described feeling like prisoners, with extremely restricted motion, and inadequate meals and drugs.
Hopes started to raise a couple of 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.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)