Around 300 NATO crisis response troops have been deployed to help evacuees from Afghanistan as they await resettlement, a military official from the alliance told dpa.
The NATO Response Force was last activated around 16 years ago to deliver relief supplies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and to help following a major earthquake in Pakistan.
The personnel are located at various sites where refugees are being hosted in Europe, according to the same official. More than 20 of the 30 NATO countries are contributing to these efforts in some form or other, the source said.
In addition, hundreds of NATO staff are supporting the operation from regional command centres and the alliance’s Brussels’ headquarters.
Some 2,000 Afghans working with NATO or their families were evacuated last month following the Taliban takeover, according to a separate written statement from the alliance earlier this week.
“Many of them are in the process of being resettled in allied countries, including in the United States,” NATO said Monday.
According to dpa’s sources within NATO, around of 1,400 of these people were still waiting for long-term accommodation as of Wednesday. Emergency accommodation has been set up in Poland and Kosovo.
There are no more NATO troops in Afghanistan itself, following the US-led decision to leave the country after almost 20 years on the ground.
The alliance signed off the deployment of troops from its Response Force on August 24, the NATO military official said, around a week after the militant Islamist group seized power in Kabul.