Norway says Afghanistan evacuations complete

Norway's evacuations from Afghanistan were over with two final planes touching down in Oslo, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday, a day after an ISIS attack on Kabul airport killed at least 85 people.

Norway says Afghanistan evacuations complete
A suitcase and backpacks of Afghan people who were waiting to be evacuated are seen at the site of the August 26th twin suicide bombs, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops, at Kabul airport on August 27, 2021. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP)

“The last Norwegian plane from Kabul has just landed,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide told AFP via email, adding that around 20 people had been on board.

Including a plane that landed Friday morning, over 1,100 people have been brought from Afghanistan to Norway since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul.

Among the Afghans brought to Norway is former minister for oil and mines Nargis Nehan.

Around 30 Norwegian army medics remained at a field hospital at Kabul airport that is treating dozens of people wounded in Thursday’s bomb attack at the entrance, claimed by the Islamic State group.

“I can’t say exactly when Norwegian forces will leave Kabul,” but “we are starting preparations,” Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters on Thursday.

The planned withdrawal would stretch over “several days,” he added.

Neighbouring Sweden, which also completed its Kabul evacuations on Friday, said the same day that it would suspend development aid payments to the country under the new Taliban regime.

READ ALSO: Sweden ends Afghanistan evacuations

“We won’t send any further aid, no money that could one way or another reach the regime we see today,” said Maria Lundberg, head of the government’s SIDA aid agency.

Afghanistan is Sweden’s top development aid recipient, to the tune of around one billion kronor (100 million euros, $115 million) per year.

SIDA said that it could resume aid on preconditions including “respect for womens’ rights, that they can go to school, but also guarantees against corruption”.

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New figures reveal how many Afghans have been evacuated to Norway

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) revealed Tuesday how many Afghans had been evacuated to Norway following the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan.

New figures reveal how many Afghans have been evacuated to Norway
Refugees disembark from a US air force aircraft after an evacuation flight from Kabul at the Rota naval base in Rota, southern Spain. Photo by Cristina Quicler/AFP

Norway has evacuated 860 Afghans after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan and Western military personnel withdrew from the country. Among the evacuated Afghans are 72 human rights activists, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has said. 

The immigration authority said in a statement released to the press that 676 Afghans have already been granted refugee status following input from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

More than 500 of those granted refugee status were associated with the Norwegian Armed Forces, 63 were locally employed by the Norwegian government and 28 were children without parents. 

Director of the UDI Frode Forfang said that, in principle, the parents of those children would also have the right to seek asylum in Norway under the right to family reunification. 

“If we manage to get the right documentation and establish the relationships, they will have the right to be reunited. There will be an individual assessment in each case,” Forfang said in a statement released to the press. 

The UDI said that 46 of those granted refugee status are yet to travel to Norway.

READ MORE: Norway says Afghanistan evacuations complete

The UDI said it would begin verifying the documentation and personal details of the Afghans evacuated to Norway. 

“In other situations, this would have happened before they were brought to Norway. We have not done that yet due to the urgency of the evacuation,” Forfang said. 

The refuges will be staying at the Oslofjord Convention Centre while they quarantine, and the process of verifying their identities takes place. 

Norway finished the process of evacuating civilians out of Afghanistan last Friday, and press agency NTB reported at the time that around 1,100 people were brought to Norway. On Monday, a final flight containing military personnel and staff at the field hospital in Kabul airport landed in Norway.