King Philippe of the Belgians visited the Defence Staff “Reine Elisabeth” quarters on Thursday, 21 October, for a routine update on the operations currently underway in various parts of the world that involve the Belgian Armed Forces.
His Majesty was welcomed with military honours and signed the guest book before sitting down for a briefing on military strategy.
King Philippe received updates on Operation Red Kite, which sees the presence of the Belgian military in Afghanistan to continue evacuating civilians and diplomatic personnel after the rapid fall of the country in the hands of the Taliban earlier this year.
The King also listened to updates on other operations currently ongoing, including the one that sees a joint effort from France and Belgium in the African country of Mali. This operation is only a part of a bigger presence in the Sahel region, where a coalition of countries is conducting Operation Barkhane under French leadership, designed to combat jihadi armed militias in the region.
Operation Barkhane was launched in August 2014, following the increased presence of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-inspired militias, and immediately saw the participation of other European countries, including Belgium, the UK and Italy, as well as the support of the United States of America.
The “Reine Elisabeth” Defence Staff quarters are located in Evere, a suburban area north-east of Brussels, and are adjoining the old NATO quarters in the European capital. It was named after the third Belgian Queen Consort, who the current heir to the throne is also named after.