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US Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division patrol Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17, 2021. ― US Air Force/Senior Airman Taylor Crul/Handout via Reuters
US Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division patrol Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17, 2021. ― US Air Force/Senior Airman Taylor Crul/Handout via Reuters

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JAKARTA, Aug 20 — The air force of Indonesia has evacuated 26 of its citizens from Afghanistan, its foreign minister said on Friday, amid chaos and uncertainty in the country after the hardline Islamist Taliban seized power.

More than 18,000 people have been evacuated in recent days from Kabul airport, the site of mayhem and despair as thousands of people try to flee following the rapid takeover of key Afghan cities including Kandahar then Kabul, as US and other foreign troops withdrew.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country, picked up 33 people in total on a plane that was now headed home via Pakistan, foreign minister Retno Marsudi said on Twitter.

“The plane is now in Islamabad to continue on to Indonesia,” she said, adding there were 26 Indonesians aboard, including embassy staff, plus five Filipinos and two Afghan nationals.

Scenes from the Kabul airport, heavily guarded by over 5,000 US troops, have captured global attention, telling a story of panic and desperation, with thousands of men, women and children trying to leave aboard military and civilian flights. — Reuters

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