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Italy continues to airlift Afghan refugees to Rome

Afghan children given toys on board flights from Kabul.

Italy continues its mission to airlift Afghan refugees out of Kabul, one week after the capital fell to the Taliban, as part of the air force's 'Aquila Omnia' operation.

The latest flight landed in Rome's Fiumicino airport early on Sunday morning, 22 August, with 211 Afghan passengers, including Italy's former 'collaborators', such as translators, and their families.

Children on board the flights to Rome are presented with teddy bears, games and colouring books, with the Italian Air Force stating on Twitter: "We are helping saving human lives and putting a smile on the faces of evacuated children."

The operation involves eight military aircraft, flying between Italy and Kabul, via Kuwait.

Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday evening that 1,600 Afghans have been airlifted to Italy over the last week.

The rescue effort takes place amid chaos at Kabul airport where at least 20 people have been killed in the past week, according to a NATO official.

In recent days the mayors of Rome, Milan and Florence have declared their willingness to help accommodate refugees from Afghanistan.

Italian premier Mario Draghi pledged last week that all Afghans who assisted Italy's mission in Kabul would be protected.

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