September 24, 2021

Balkan Travellers

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What will happen to Kabul airport after the Americans leave on August 31?

There will be no extra time. As planned, the United States will officially depart from Kabul International Airport “By August 31”, U.S. Diplomatic Spokesman Netflix confirmed Friday, August 27th. After twenty years of administration by NATO and the Americans, that platform will remain “Returned to Afghanistan” The U.S. representative said. But who will really get control of the air operations in that place? Is Afghanistan’s main airport at risk of closing due to lack of a qualified manager? Francinefo summarizes the challenges of this strategic power transfer.

Towards a temporary closure

Many fears that Kabul airport will be closed after the US withdrawal, so air traffic that already allowed 100,000 foreigners fleeing the new Taliban regime and Afghanistan to be evacuated has been halted. The United States strongly suspects that the Taliban, which has not yet formed a government, will be able to provide air operations on its own. “Managing an airport is not an easy task (…), especially in a place like Kabul“, Especially said Net Price (Link in English). A spokesman for US diplomacy warned that one should not expect “Normal Airport Activities” The day after the Americans left.

Filling the operational vacuum left by NATO and US soldiers can be really difficult. From the control tower to the security of the premises, most of the airport’s operations have so far been carried out with the help of foreigners. US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen Thus note, Wednesday 25 August (Link in English), The airport will have to close “Some time”.

However, Americans want air travel to continue. “With the rest of the international community, we are interested [à ce que l’aéroport soit fonctionnel], If everyone who wants to escape is allowed to board the plane beyond 31, Said Anthony Blingen. The head of US diplomacy also promised that the Taliban “It was very clear” And have a functional airport.

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Turkey can fill the void

Despite this confusion, the situation of shared administration between the Taliban regime and the Third Country is increasingly becoming a reality. The new masters of Afghanistan asked Qatar for help. Al-Monitor website reported (Article in English), But will eventually be able to overcome Turkey, which wants to fill a void left by the Americans.

“The management of Kabul airport was handed over to us by the Taliban. We have not decided yet.”According to comments, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Announced by the Anatolian State Agency. In good faith, Turkey announced on the same day that it had completed the expulsion of 500 soldiers from Afghanistan. “We will make a decision when peace returns.”President Erdogan also said that following the bloody attack on Kabul airport. However, the Turkish president said that if an agreement was reached, the Taliban would want to control the security of the site.

Key infrastructure for providing humanitarian assistance

Kabul airport is a preferred gateway to the threat of Afghanistan and international humanitarian assistance, which the Taliban can continue to tolerate. The country is really facing “Severe humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by conflict and aggravated by drought and Govt-19.”, Warns NGO Care on its site. U.S.There are three Afghans or about 14 million people “In a situation of severe food insecurity” According to the World Food Program.

Since the Taliban seized control of the country, it remains to be seen whether the majority of foreign aid workers will be able to return to Afghanistan. “The situation is even more chaotic, security guarantees will have to be issued by the new government, when it will definitely be created”, Francinepo explains to the manager of a large French NGO who wants to remain anonymous. “It is unthinkable that it would be better to carry staff and goods by plane.”He judges with reference to selected European humanitarian NGOs To continue their operations in the field.

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Can humanitarian workers trust commercial planes to help the Afghan people? The head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, recalled that in any case the Taliban promised to give a pass to foreigners (except the military). “Without expiration date”. A few more commercial flights are scheduled beyond August 31, including Turkish Airlines, which operates daily night-time flights to Kabul throughout September.