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NATO calls a crisis meeting this Friday on Afghanistan

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will preside over a meeting of the ambassadors of the Alliance countries this Friday afternoon, following the United States’ decision to evacuate diplomats and nationals from Afghanistan, two diplomatic sources told AFP .

“The evacuation” of the country will be at the center of the discussions, with the military options and the necessary adaptations to proceed with these exits, said one of these officials.

Washington announced on Thursday the sending of thousands of soldiers to Kabul to evacuate diplomats or nationals in the face of the rapid advance of the Taliban towards the Afghan capital. The allies were briefed on the US decision on Thursday, Alliance diplomats said. The UK quickly followed suit in Washington.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg interrupted his vacation and returned to Brussels to chair this crisis meeting on Friday. “It is about securing the Kabul international airport,” specified a diplomat. Turkey has offered to take on this mission, he added.

Each member of the Alliance has planned the evacuation of their diplomatic and national personnel. “It is about determining who does what, when, how and what support is given to this,” said this diplomatic source.

The meteoric advance of the Taliban has changed the situation and has accelerated decisions. “A favorable environment is needed to carry out these operations. But for the moment, it is the greatest uncertainty, ”he warned.

The insurgents took Lashkar Gah (south), capital of Helmand province, a few hours after demolishing Kandahar, the country’s second city, located 150 kilometers to the east. They already control Pul-e-Alam, just 50 km south of Kabul, putting them dangerously close to the Afghan capital.

Taliban forces now control nearly half of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals, all of which fell in just eight days.

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