File Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German government spokesman Steffen Seibert. AP
The German, British and Dutch leaders agreed Saturday that evacuating those under threat in Afghanistan remains a "priority" although the international airlift operation is ending, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said.
Merkel talked by phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch PM Mark Rutte, with the end of the evacuations and the general situation in Afghanistan and the region "at the centre of their discussions", spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a brief statement.
The three leaders "agreed on the fact that the evacuation of their nationals, Afghan personnel (who had worked with their armed forces) and people in danger was always the highest priority, as well as providing humanitarian supplies to the populations. and refugees from the region," said Seibert.
The international airlift from Kabul, including rescuing Afghans seeking to flee the new Taliban regime, entered its final phase on Saturday ahead of the August 31 deadline set for the withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan, after 20 years of fighting.
According to US government figures, the air bridge allowed for the evacuation of 112,000 Afghans and foreign nations since August 14, the eve of the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, and 117,500 people since late July.
Most countries involved have already announced the end of their air operations, including Germany and the Netherlands.
The British army's airlift efforts were set to wind up on Saturday .
However thousands of Afghans wishing to leave the country have failed to get on one of the crowded flights out and many countries are seeking diplomatic solutions for these people, notably through discussions with the Taliban.
Johnson said Friday that London would "shift heaven and earth" to help the Afghans left behind.
Several British nationals were killed in Thursday's bomb attack at Kabul airport, claimed by the regional Islamic State chapter.