4 Russian planes sent to Kabul to evacuate 500

MOSCOW, Aug 25 (AP)— The Russian Defense Ministry says four planes sent to evacuate more than 500 people from Afghanistan have taken off from Kabul and are en route to Russia.

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday the planes would carry the nationals of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine from Kabul. The flights marked the first such airlift for Russia since evacuations from Kabul began.

Teams of medical workers are present on each plane to provide assistance to the evacuees if necessary.

The evacuations will be carried out upon orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Separately, a representative of the Afghan community in Russia said Wednesday the Russian Embassy in Kabul has allowed more than 1,000 Afghan citizens to come to Russia once the Kabul airport reopens for regular flights. The Interfax news agency quoted Ghulam Mohammad Jalal as saying they include Afghan citizens of Russian origin, Afghan students studying in Russian universities and those who hold Russian residence or work permits.