A young Afghan girl was photographed today jumping over a runway after being safely evacuated from Kabul.
The girl appeared to jump for joy when she arrived at the Melsbroek military airbase outside Brussels, Belgium.
She is depicted wearing yellow pants and a yellow top holding a jacket, while a man, woman and little boy walk in front of her.
Eurocrat and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt tweeted the image with the text ‘Welcome to Belgium, little girl!’
Britain pulled the plug on its Kabul airlift last night after it evacuated nearly 15,000 British citizens and Afghan nationals from the country.
But it has left behind up to 150 Britons and another 1,000 Afghans who have assisted the British armed forces, now under Taliban rule.
Belgium has evacuated 1,500 people since the airlift started this month, after it also participated in military operations in the country.
The little girl appeared to be jumping for joy after landing safely at Melsbroek Military Air Force Base outside Brussels, Belgium. She is depicted with a man, a woman and a small boy. It is unclear if this is her family
A smiling refugee has also been photographed at the US Rota Air Base, in southern Spain (see above). They were evacuated from Kabul during the airlift
Thousands of people flocked to Kabul airport when the Taliban took over the city in a desperate attempt to flee the country. Western countries have organized an airlift to evacuate their nationals and Afghans they fear the Taliban will try to hunt down
The heartwarming photo was taken by Reuters photographer Johanna Geron at the base next to Belgium’s busiest airport, Brussels Airport.
It is not clear whether the girl is in the photo with her mother, father and brother.
Mr Verhofstadt tweeted the image with the caption: ‘This is what happens when you protect refugees. Welcome to Belgium, girl!’
The tweet has been ‘liked’ more than 25,000 times and received nearly 1,000 responses.
The photo was taken on Wednesday, and locally media report that the plane had arrived in Belgium from Islamabad, Pakistan.
The Belgian Air Force has evacuated people from Kabul to Islamabad before putting them on long-haul flights to Belgium.
A smiling evacuee is also pictured at the US-run Rota airbase in southern Spain, after being evacuated from Kabul.
British officials are also pictured with Afghan refugees, who are delighted to have made it to the UK.
Home Secretary Priti Patel was photographed on Thursday speaking with an Afghan mother and her children at Heathrow Airport.
And Health Minister Sajid Javid was pictured greeting a family that had arrived in the UK. He tweeted their meeting with the message ‘welcome to Britain’.
Eurocrat and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt tweeted the image and said ‘welcome to Belgium, little girl!’ It has been ‘liked’ more than 25,000 times
British Home Secretary Priti Patel greeted Afghans rescued from Kabul at Heathrow airport on Thursday.
British Health Minister Sajid Javid was also pictured welcoming an Afghan family to the country. He tweeted the image that read ‘welcome to Britain’.
Afghans line up at the main gate of Kabul airport hoping to leave Afghanistan on Saturday in Kabul. The last British flight with civilians took off last night. All further British aircraft will have military and diplomatic personnel on board
The UK Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the latest evacuation flight has now taken off from Kabul, ending the UK’s rescue mission.
British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow said: ‘It is time to close this phase of the operation now, but we have not forgotten the people who have yet to leave.
“We will continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan. They deserve to live in peace and security.’
Thousands of refugees have not been able to reach the Taliban-guarded airport or are too afraid to do so because of the constant threat of terrorism.
An ISIS suicide bomber killed at least 170 people on Thursday, including 13 US soldiers, two Britons and the child of a British citizen outside the airport walls.
The Pentagon announced overnight that it had launched a retaliatory drone strike on the ISIS “planner” behind the suicide bombing. The ISIS chief’s car was destroyed by a missile while driving through Nangarhar province, in eastern Afghanistan.
Britain’s last flight carrying military and official personnel is expected to land later today, ahead of Tuesday’s withdrawal deadline agreed by the US and the Taliban.
General Sir Nick Carter said: ‘We must hold our breath and think very carefully about that last plane.’
US troops now face a “very difficult” few days to act as “rearguards” for the withdrawal, he added.
“I think our US allies will be very tested because the threat from ISIS-K has not disappeared and there are of course still many desperate Afghans trying to get out,” said Sir Nick.
General Sir Richard Barrons warned that ISIS now posed a threat extending beyond Afghanistan to the UK.
‘What [the suicide bombing] does illustrate that Isis-K is a risk to the UK, here at home, and to our interests abroad,” said the general.
“We are going to find common ground with the US, and I think the Taliban indeed, by suppressing this horrible organization for as long as it takes to castrate them.”