Technical Briefing - August 23, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
I’ll be providing you with a brief operational update on the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours.
Since we started the operation in consort with our colleague from IRCC and GAC we have evacuated over 1700 People from Afghanistan on 13 Flights, the vast majority destined for Canada
On August 19th, once Allied forces regained control of Hamid Karzai International Airport, the Canadian Armed Forces and our Allies were able to successfully resume their evacuation flights.
Since resuming evacuation flights on Aug 19th, the CAF has flown 4 flights, which have evacuated approximately 851 people + Allied Service members, including
- Canadian citizens and their family members,
- Permanent residents of Canada,
- Foreign Nationals
- Afghan nationals accepted under Canada’s immigration program,
- Afghan nationals accepted under our Allies’ immigration programs,
- and dozens of service members from twelve other nations taking part in the U.S.-led air bridge, as well as military assets.
Last night’s C-17 Globemaster Flight that recently arrived in 3rd Location carried 436 Canadian citizens and Afghan nationals destined for Canada… Hundreds of those passengers have already transferred to another waiting flight and they are now enroute to Canada The security situation surrounding the airport has become increasingly dangerous, which I won’t expand upon at this time.
The crowds are intense, violence is becoming more common, and Taliban checkpoints in surrounding areas are preventing many from reaching the airport area.
For those who do make it to the area surrounding the airport, Canadian Armed Forces members have been able to assist eligible evacuees in entering the airport perimeter, which remains the single biggest limiting factor in getting people out of the country quickly. Yesterday, the airport had been temporarily closed to allow for thousands of evacuees to safely board flights and depart.
At present, the airport remains closed, however CAF members are working with representatives from Other Government Departments and are in direct contact to identify Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents, and Afghan Nationals eligible for evacuation and we are being successful in getting people into HKIA while it remains closed.
In order to respond to questions about our efforts on the ground inside and outside of HKIA, the CAF has made decision to disclose that Canada’s Special Operations Forces have been and continue to work outside the confines of HKIA. Members of CANSOF are working relentlessly to bring as many Canadian Citizens and eligible Afghan Nationals and their families through the security gates to awaiting aircraft. These members along with their RCAF and other CAF counterparts will continue to work 24/7 until the security situation
necessitates they must stop. We cannot provide further information about these operations as it would further compromise the security of our members, those who have been told to make their way to the airport and those who are waiting to get through the gates.
As part of the multinational air bridge, Canada has secured a guaranteed landing time each day.
Because there are thirteen nations participating in the air bridge, the landing and departure schedule at the airport is extremely strict and tight to allow for as many people to be evacuated as possible.
This strict scheduling is what allows the air bridge to function.
Practically, that means planes must depart very soon after landing, leaving very little time to load passengers and assets.
Canada’s C-177 Globemasters will continue flying into and out of Kabul on a rotational basis, evacuating as many people as possible, as long as the security situation allows. Our aircraft are reconfigured to carry the maximum number of people as safely as possible, and CAF personnel are empowered to make decisions on the ground in the interest of saving human lives. Our Aircraft Captains are making those decisions…
When determining how many passengers to load onto the aircraft, Aircrew have to account for a number of different factors, including:
- the number of eligible evacuees present and able to board the flight in the brief window available,
- the aircrafts’ performance,
- passenger capacity,
- fuel and weight considerations, and
- density altitude given temperature, altitude etc…
In order to ensure the planes can reach their destination outside of Afghanistan. We are doing everything we can to make sure we get as many people onto each flight as possible as you see by this morning’s numbers
It’s also important to note that the 12 other nations participating in the air bridge are also transporting eligible evacuees from Allied nations, including Canadians. We are dispatching more CAF personnel to another 3rd location to assist in the processing of Canadian citizens and Afghan nationals destined for Canada at a US site
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