Afghanistan: UAE facilitates evacuation of 28,000 people

Abu Dhabi - Foreign ministry official says UAE will stop facilitating all evacuation operations from Kabul starting August 31


Anjana Sankar

Published: Thu 26 Aug 2021, 2:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Aug 2021, 6:54 PM

The UAE has facilitated the evacuation of over 28,000 individuals from Afghanistan, a government official said on Thursday.

A senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said this is in addition to 8,500 people coming to the UAE via national carriers and UAE airports since the beginning of August.

He added that the UAE will stop facilitating all evacuation operations from Kabul starting August 31 with the US withdrawal, and the government has grave concerns about the worsening security situation at the Kabul airport.

He said the UAE is willing to cooperate with the US and other countries as far as the security situation at the airport is safe. The official said during a media briefing that the security situation at the airport is ‘compromised’ and that the UAE is ‘concerned’.

He said the UAE is coordinating with the US and not the Taliban for the evacuation operations.

On August 20, the UAE agreed to host 5,000 Afghan nationals evacuated from Afghanistan on their way to third countries. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced that, following a request from the United States, it would host the Afghan nationals.

The official said among the evacuees accommodated at the Emirates Humanitarian City, 30 per cent are children and 30 per cent are men while the remaining 40 per cent are women. There were a few Covid positive cases and they are isolated. Those who have sustained injuries are hospitalised and given free treatment. After landing in the UAE, one of the Afghan women also gave birth, added the official. He said the UAE is providing a comprehensive range of services including housing, healthcare and food services.

To date, individuals evacuated with UAE assistance have included nationals from France, the UK, Japan, Australia, US, New Zealand, Latvia, Spain and Mexico.

Working in concert with the US, the UAE established a transit hub and processing centre in Abu Dhabi from which travellers from Afghanistan undergo health and security screenings before continuing to the US or a third country. Under the coordination of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, the UAE is working with the US Embassy team, including consular and customs and border officers, to process travellers round the clock.

The official said the UAE has reached the capacity and will not be able to host more evacuees. The first batch of evacuees will fly to their destination countries in the US and Europe on Thursday, he said.

Commenting on UAE evacuation efforts, Salem Mohammed Al Zaabi, Director of the International Security Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said: “Since its founding as a nation, the UAE has championed a humanitarian approach that protects the most vulnerable and extends a hand of assistance to other countries in times of need.

“It is an honour for the UAE to work side-by-side with its partners in the international community to achieve all that serves the interests of the Afghan people, as well as foreign nationals being evacuated from Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds. We will continue to work tirelessly in this regard to ensure that all can live in safety, security, and dignity,” Al Zaabi affirmed.

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