Over 200 evacuees from Afghanistan land in Zurich
A SWISS charter flight carrying 219 people evacuated from Afghanistan has landed in Zurich early on Tuesday morning.
SWISS evacuation flight departed Tashkent Monday night
The plane was carrying 141 Afghan nationals who had worked for Swiss NGOs in Afghanistan before the Taliban takeover, alongside 78 other Afghan, German and Swedish nationals. Accompanying the flight from Switzerland were members of the Federal Office of Police, doctors and eight people from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit.
The SWISS Boeing 777 departed the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent on Monday night, landing in Zurich at 1.47 am Tuesday morning. The evacuees were flown out of Kabul on a German airforce plane, before completing the journey on the SWISS flight.
The evacuation had been planned for Saturday but was postponed due to the worsening security situation around Kabul airport, according to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The flight was then approved to leave Zurich on Monday and has now returned safely to Switzerland. The FDFA said in a statement that, with this evacuation flight, “Switzerland is making a concrete contribution to the international community's evacuation efforts.”
Swiss COVID-19 protective equipment given to Uzbekistan
As part of the deal to allow the SWISS flight to take place, over 1,3 million face masks were given to Uzbek authorities by the Swiss Armed Forces Pharmacy. This was proceeded by a deployment of the Swiss Armed Forces to assist with security on the ground and to help plan the evacuation.
This latest flight means that 319 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan by the Swiss government. It is hoped that more can be rescued before the provisional deadline of August 31, but this will rely on a stable situation in Kabul and the continued cooperation of the Taliban. The FDFA said that it was working “flat out” to ensure that as many people as possible could leave Afghanistan.