The Hungarian Air Force has completed its largest evacuation operation in modern times, Defense Minister Tibor Benkő said on Thursday.
“We have brought home a 100 percent of the Hungarian nationals who contacted us. We have also brought back all Afghan nationals who helped the Hungarian Air Forces in the past 18 years and contacted us,” Benkő said at a press conference. “This means 57 families and 180 children.”
Benkő said that the Air Force’s two Airbus A-319 transport planes made 14 round trips since the operation was launched on Aug. 19.
“I congratulate our troops for the successful, disciplined and organized work,” Benkő said. “The video we just showed (at the press conference) shows how they did that amid gunfire.”
“I can say that the Hungarian soldiers, the Hungarian Armed Forces, wrote history,” said Brigadier General Romulusz-Ruszin-Szendi, who serves as commander of the Hungarian Air Forces, adding that it only took the air force 20 hours to get the operation going.
He said the maintenance of the aircraft had to be organized in Uzbekistan, as Kabul Airport was no longer suitable for that. He explained that in Kabul, the planes could only remain on the concrete for 30 minutes after landing, with the engines still running, during which time various safety tasks had to be performed.
“All I can tell you is that there was another nation on the flight deck of which the refugee had already installed a bomb in the toilet. This has not happened to us,” he said. “In each round, we were only able to evacuate 60 or 70 people at a time. Part of the special operations unit was permanently stationed in Kabul. At the end of the operation, our allies came there and asked: Hungarians, how did you do it?”
Title mage: Airbus A-319 transport plane of the Hungarian Air Force evacuates civilians from Kabul airport. (MTI)