Two flights carrying Irish citizens left Kabul airport yesterday, with both planes landing outside the country.
An Irish mission of Army Rangers and two diplomats – an Emergency Consular Assistance Team (ECAT) which landed in Afghanistan earlier this week evacuated 26 Irish in addition to the previous 10 who had already left.
Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister Simon Coveney stressed that “our citizens left yesterday on two separate flights”.
“At around 11:30 am yesterday morning the French flight left, and it was mainly our ECAT team of Army Rangers and a diplomat,” Coveney said.
“They are returning home via Abu Dhabi. They are currently in Abu Dhabi, that’s what I understand, and we will seek to get them home as quickly as possible, ”he said.
“The French are going to facilitate this, or at least bring them to Paris. “
The minister said the other Irish evacuees “are flying from Kabul to Helsinki with the Finnish army and they have stopped in Tbilisi. [in Georgia] on my way “.
“There is a diplomat and two rangers accompanying 15 other Irish nationals and their dependents on this flight,” he said.
“They will arrive in Helsinki today and we will work with them to make sure they take commercial flights, mainly to Dublin. “
However, around 60 Irish citizens and their families are still in Afghanistan, along with 15 Afghan citizens residing in Ireland.
“Most of them are in Kabul and we are in contact with all these families, and we will stay in touch with them as long as it takes,” Coveney said.
The Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the closest to Afghanistan, is involved in this process, but a team is also to be set up in Dublin to help facilitate communication with families.
“There are 15 Afghan citizens who reside in Ireland, so people who would have lived in Ireland as Afghan citizens, some of them working here who would have returned home to Afghanistan for vacation or to see family, etc. “, did he declare. .
“We also treat them like Irish citizens and we will work with all those who wish to leave Afghanistan to help them find ways to do so.
But the truth is, this is going to be an effort that many countries are involved in, it will be an effort by the international community to ensure that foreign nationals who are in Afghanistan who want to go out will be made easier to do so, and it’s going to be an ongoing job in the days and weeks to come.
“In the immediate future, I think we will focus on exiting Kabul airport. ” without issue.
The Netherlands, Denmark and Australia have already left Afghanistan and Coveney has said he expects France and the UK to leave today.
“The operations to evacuate civilians from Kabul airport are now closed. “
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