Hungarian DM: All Hungarians brought home with no one injured in evacuation operations
All the Hungarian soldiers participating in the evacuation mission in Afghanistan returned home safely on Wednesday, Hungary's defence minister said in a press briefing on Thursday. The Hungarian military received orders to launch the evacuation on 17 August, leaving soldiers merely 20 hours to prepare for the operation.
Hungary’s evacuation operation began on 19 August. Hungarian soldiers evacuated a total of 540 people, including Hungarian, American, Austrian and Afghan nationals, the Hungarian Defence Minister Tibor Benko told the press at a briefing on Thursday.
The minister added that all Hungarian nationals who they had knowledge of had been brought back home. Besides Hungarian citizens, Hungarian soldiers also evacuated 57 Afghan families, including 180 children. 100 people were engaged in the mission and no one was injured, the Mr Benko said in response to a question. The Hungarian military left no technical equipment in Afghanistan, he said, answering another question. The DM also said that although Hungarian citizens are undoubtedly still in Afghanistan, they cannot say the exact number. Life goes on in the country, and there are certainly still Hungarians – working for various companies and organisations – who do not want to leave, he added.
Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces, said that the Hungarian Defence Forces had made history, as the country’s soldiers had never faced a challenge of such a nature before. They had a mere 20 hours to prepare for the evacuation mission. Underscoring the success of the operation, the commander mentioned that while a passenger allowed on board another country’s rescue aircraft tried planting a bomb in the plane’s restroom, no such incident occurred in the Hungarian rescue operation. Lt Gen Ruszin-Szendi also pointed out that there were no technical problems during the rescue and that no armed clashes ensued between the Taliban and the Hungarian forces.
Hungarian soldiers had been serving in Afghanistan since 2003.