Trudeau: ‘Very difficult day’ as Kabul flights end

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a "very difficult day" after an explosion near the Kabul airport Thursday morning shortly after news that Canada had ended its evacuations from Afghanistan.

Trudeau said the "closing of a temporary air bridge" did not mean the end of Canada’s connection to Afghanistan and that efforts would continue to reach the government’s target to resettle 20,000 Afghans.

"Our continued work to put pressure on the Taliban alongside our international allies to allow people to leave Afghanistan and come to safety and Canada will continue," the Liberal leader said Thursday at a campaign stop in Quebec City.

"This particular moment is done and it’s heartbreaking to see. But there is much more to do and Canada will continue to be there for Afghans and the Afghan people."

Canada has ended evacuations from Kabul’s airport, a Canadian general said Thursday, as the clock ticks down on dramatic Western efforts to help people flee the Taliban takeover ahead of a full American withdrawal.

General Wayne Eyre, the country’s acting chief of Defense Staff, said all the other countries have to leave the airport before the Americans can wrap up their mission.

Canadian military flights evacuated about 3,700 people.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he is sticking to his Aug. 31 deadline for completing the U.S. pullout as the Taliban insisted he must, ramping up pressure on the already risky airlift from Kabul to get out as many people as possible in the coming days.

Canada and European allies pressed for more time but lost the argument.

Canada is one many countries taking part in the evacuation of people facing Taliban reprisals from Kabul’s airport.