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Finland ends operations at Kabul airport

The Finns went to Afghanistan to evacuate Finns and staff from their embassy. 

Pekka Haavisto (Green) announced the end of Finnish operations at Kabul Airport on Thursday. Image: Lehtikuva

Finland's evacuation operation in Kabul has ended, with around 340 people flown out.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) announced the conclusion of operations at a press conference on Thursday evening, shortly after suicide attacks at the airport had killed scores of people.

Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) said that operations had continued for as long as it was safe to do so.

Both the military personnel and the foreign ministry staff at the airport have left the country, said the ministers, and they are expected to arrive in Finland on Friday.

Kaikkonen said that the Finnish military presence at the airport had helped increase the numbers of people Finland was able to evacuate, but they were not forced to use their weapons at any point.

Most of the people on the original evacuation list had left Afghanistan, but few if any on the expanded list announced on Tuesday had made it out due to the deteriorating security situation, according to Haavisto.

Finland had been criticised for excluding security staff from its embassy from evacuation lists, before it announced on Tuesday that some guards employed by sub-contractors would be added to the evacuation.

They may now need to seek a different route out of the country.