Tbilisi airport used as way station in evacuation of people from Kabul

Afghan people sit as they wait to leave the Kabul airport after thousands mobbed the facility trying to flee. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP.

Agenda.ge, 26 Aug 2021 - 16:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

Tbilisi International Airport is being used as a way station by evacuation flights of the NATO Military Transportation Organisation, which is running daily flights to Kabul and back, the Georgian government reports.

The Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital on August 15. 

From Tbilisi, passengers evacuated from Kabul are being transported abroad via various charter flights. Up to 2,000 individuals have been evacuated so far via Georgian territory,” said the statement. 

The Georgian government says that a  regional transit hub has been set up at Tbilisi International Airport and at the Georgian Defense Forces military base near the airport with the participation of Georgian, Norwegian and Swedish servicemen, as well as military and civilian personnel from several NATO member states. 

A transit medical aid point was also set up by the Norwegian Armed Forces on the territory of the military base, which, if necessary, will be used during the evacuation of the Norwegian military hospital in Kabul,” said the Georgian government. 

Various international organisations evacuating staff and other individuals from Kabul have requested Georgia’s assistance in the effort as well. 

Georgian soldiers began leaving Afghanistan starting May 2021, after an agreement between the US and Taliban back in 2020. Photo: Defence Ministry press office. 

Georgia has accepted the request of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to assist in evacuating their staff and allow their temporary presence on Georgian territory,” said the government. 

Georgia has been involved in NATO-led peace ISAF and Resolute Support mission operations in Afghanistan since 2004. 

We have been one of the major contributors to the NATO Resolute support Mission (with 870 soldiers) over the past 10 years and Georgian soldiers were participating in very complicated operations. Georgia, as a country striving for NATO membership, has proven that we are able to worthily take the responsibility of collective defence and be the supporter of international peace,” said the statement. 

The government said that Georgian territory was also used when NATO forces were leaving Afghanistan earlier this year.