Evacuation from Afghanistan – update on the situation
Intensive efforts are under way to evacuate Finns and Afghans who have been working for the Finnish Government from Afghanistan. Around ten people were evacuated from Kabul on Saturday, and a group of 52 have boarded evacuation flights so far on Sunday. This brings the total number of evacuees to 110 at present. The evacuees are Finnish citizens or permanent residents of Finland, along with other persons who have been working for Finland, the EU and NATO, together with their families.
The evacuations will continue in cooperation with the Defence Forces’ unit tasked with safeguarding the efforts, other authorities and Finland’s close partner countries. The Foreign Ministry’s relief team in Kabul has received reinforcements, and there is a five-person relief team on the ground at the airport.
The Defence Forces’ unit arrived in the area on Saturday. The fact that its support work could get off to a quick start has made a big difference, as the number of people to be evacuated has increased significantly since the unit arrived. The task of the unit in the area is to protect the employees of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and to assist in the evacuation, including by guiding the evacuees.
The greatest challenges still faced by Finland and the other evacuating countries have to do with how difficult and dangerous it is to get people to the airport and through the gates amidst the huge crowds of people. Our team on the ground is continuously assessing the development of the security situation in close cooperation with representatives from other countries. Based on this information, we will provide instructions to the people being evacuated, with their safety and security as our top priority.
For security reasons and with due respect for the privacy of the evacuees, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will not disclose detailed information on how or when they will arrive in Finland. It is important that the people arriving in Finland are guaranteed the peace they deserve and given the opportunity to rest after their traumatic experiences.
Petra Sarias, Communications Officer, Unit for Communications on Current Affairs, tel. +358 40 551 6571