Wednesday 9/29/21
EVACUATION

Finland prepares to get Afghan staff out of country

Taliban insurgents have taken control of 10 of the 34 provincial capitals within a week
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Photo: Kimmo Brandt/Eduskunta.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (L) speaking in Parliament. Photo: Kimmo Brandt/Eduskunta/File photo.

The Finnish government wants to get its Afghan employees out of the country in view of the Taliban's rapid advance.

On Thursday, Afghan officials said Taliban militants overrun the provincial capital of Afghanistan’s south-eastern province of Ghazni, while worries grow about the security of the capital Kabul. With the fall of Ghazni city insurgents have taken control of 10 of the 34 provincial capitals within a week, making rapid territorial gains as the US and its allies withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of the month.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto confirmed to the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) on Wednesday that the country would give protection to Afghans who had worked for Finnish peacekeepers and diplomats in Afghanistan.

The Helsinki government has started to prepare for the potential evacuation of "dozens" of workers who have served Finland and who are now in danger from the Taliban offensive.

"There is a consensus in the government that they have a duty to help them," the foreign minister told Yle.

Finland has been involved in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan since 2002, within the framework of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the follow-on Resolute Support Mission (RSM).

Denmark

The Danish government has also offered to evacuate to Denmark active Afghan employees of the Danish embassy in Kabul and former embassy and military staff from the past two years with their partners and minor children, the Foreign Ministry said.

The evacuation should begin as soon as possible and proceed gradually so that the embassy in Kabul can continue to operate. The employees are mainly Afghan interpreters.

According to Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, about 45 Afghan employees have asked the country for help. They and their immediate family members will initially be granted a two-year temporary residence permit, and then will have the opportunity to apply for asylum.

Comments