Singapore offered united states one of its tanker aircraft to airlift stranded civilians from war-torn Afghanistan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday as he held talks with US Vice President Kamala Harris during which the two nation signed a number of key agreements to enhance cooperation, & discuss the issue of defence and cybersecurity.
Vice President Harris’ visit to Singapore is part of a diplomatic charm offensive by the Biden administration in Southeast Asia, a region that is crucial to the future prosperity and security of the United States, amidst China’s aggressive actions in the region.
The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft of the Singapore Air Force, achive full operational capability in April, is capable of conducting air-to-air refuelling and airlift roles simultaneously. This is said to enhances the Singapore Armed Forces’ to contribute to international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, and peace support operations.
Harris thanked Lee for the “very generous offer” to assist the US in its evacuations from Afghanistan.“We look forward to following up on that discussion,” she said.
Lee, at a press conference held along with Harris, said that the safety and security of the civilians is on the minds of everyone all over the world, and that he hopes that all sides there can work to ensure this.
The MRTT aircraft of the Republic of Singapore Air Force can carry up to 266 passengers or 37,000 kgs of cargo, and can be used to evacuate sick or injured personnel.
“I mentioned to Vice President (Harris) that we knew that the US was conducting an evacuation operation of refugees from Afghanistan, and Singapore would like to offer to the US the use of aircraft in order to help with the airlift,” said Lee.PM Lees offer to help evacuation afghanisatn from Kabul which fell to the Taliban on August 15.
The day after Kabul fell, the Taliban declared the end of the two decade war in Afghanistan and announced thet it would proclaim the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan.