PIA has evacuated more than 1,400 people from Kabul since August 14
Islamabad: The European Union (EU) officials have requested continued evacuation support from Pakistani authorities to evacuate their employees in Afghanistan.
EU officials seek urgent evacuation of at least 420 people, with 251 on the priority list, fleeing Kabul over security concerns.
EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara sought assistance from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) CEO Arshad Malik and Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar to arrange special aircraft for evacuation of members of the EU delegation and their dependents stranded in Kabul. Following their safe arrival at Islamabad airport, they would spend a few days in Islamabad before heading for EU member states via another aircraft arranged by the EU.
German Ambassador to Pakistan Bernhard Schlagheck commended Pakistani authorities for “tremendous cooperation at Islamabad Airport” in evacuating German citizens and local staff from Afghanistan together with European mission staff.
PIA is planning to operate special flights to Kabul this week to evacuate foreigners and their dependents. Asian Development Bank (ADB) also sought Pakistan’s help in a letter to PIA chief executive officer 290 people, including 162 ADB staff, their families and Afghan nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
Since August 14, Pakistan’s national carrier PIA has evacuated more than 1,400 people from Kabul, including diplomats, foreign media and Afghan journalists and staff of international organizations.
Prime Minister Imran Khan directed all possible travel facilities for those foreigners and Afghan nationals seeking to leave Afghanistan and lauded the efforts by Pakistan embassy in Kabul for round the clock facilitation for travellers from Afghanistan.
At the request of the Danish government, Pakistan recently facilitated the evacuation of 431 Afghan nationals from Kabul on August 15. In a phone conversation with Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod thanked Pakistan for “outstanding assistance” and expressed appreciation for the “close, effective cooperation” to facilitate the evacuation of Danes and Afghans out of Kabul safely.
Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi also held a phone conversation with Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission to discuss joint cooperation on Afghanistan. Pakistan government assured full support for evacuation efforts and repatriation of those who wish to leave Afghanistan.
Qureshi emphasized that ensuring safety and security as well as protection of the rights of all Afghans remained the top priority, urging that the current situation in Afghanistan required sustained international engagement. “It was vitally important to remain in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and extend support to them, both in the humanitarian arena and for economic sustenance.”
Pakistan is in close contact with the Afghan leaders and the extended “Troika” which includes United States, Russia, and China, to ensure that the Taliban live up to the promises and declarations of upholding human rights that they made to the international community, according to Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan.
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