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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland to help airlift around 100 people out of Afghanistan: PM

17.08.2021 21:00
Poland's prime minister on Tuesday declared that his country would assist in the evacuation of around 100 people from Afghanistan, chiefly those linked to the European Union and NATO. 
Afghans gather outside Kabul Airport to flee the country on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
Afghans gather outside Kabul Airport to flee the country on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.Photo: EPA/STRINGER

Talking to reporters in Żabia Wola, central Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki said he had spoken to his defence, interior and foreign ministers about an ongoing evacuation of people who once worked with the Polish military contingent in the Asian country.

He added that Poland had started to airlift them in June as it was "our obligation."

As a result, more than 10 people and their families have already arrived in Poland or "other places of their choosing" and "we have taken care of them," Morawiecki said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Afghanistan's Ghazni province, where Polish soldiers had been stationed, was captured by the Taliban much earlier than the capital Kabul, Morawiecki pointed out.

Requests for assistance

With the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan virtually complete, Poland has been receiving requests for assistance from the EU, NATO and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Morawiecki told reporters.

"In the coming days," he stated, "we will be presented with a list of probably around 100 people whom we are going to help evacuate."

Morawiecki told reporters that Poland was working with Uzbekistan to ensure a "smooth logistic operation" and so that "we can assist our allies, too."

He added that Polish military planes were set to take evacuees from Kabul to Uzbekistan, and then on to Poland and other European countries.

Also, a task force has been set up under Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński to place evacuees in special centres around Poland, Morawiecki said.

He added that the project was being coordinated "with our allies and the security services."

He also said he had asked his interior and defence ministers to "verify the records of all the people who had cooperated with the Polish mission in Afghanistan" so that "they can find shelter in Poland."

Large-scale evacuation

Following the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and the capture of the country by the Taliban, a large-scale evacuation was on Tuesday under way at Kabul airport, which remained in the hands of the US Army.

America, Germany and Poland, among other countries, have sent planes for their citizens and Afghan associates.

Since Sunday, thousands of Afghans, desperate to flee abroad, have been storming the tarmac, forcing their way into planes and clinging to moving jets. At least seven people have died amid the chaos.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP