Kyiv Urged To Evacuate Ukrainian Passport-Holders When Kabul Flights Resume
October 06, 2021
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on Ukraine's government to evacuate Ukrainian passport-holders from Afghanistan as soon as flights from Kabul resume.
In a statement on October 5, the New York-based human rights watchdog noted that Kyiv rescued almost 250 Ukrainians, Afghans, and citizens of other countries, some of whom have sought asylum in Ukraine, following the Taliban takeover of the country in August.
However, it added that dozens of Ukrainian citizens, mostly Afghans with Ukrainian passports, and their relatives remain stranded in the capital.
"Many people who made it onto Ukraine's evacuation list traveled long distances with their families to be closer to the Kabul airport, where they have been waiting for evacuation and other assistance from the Ukrainian government, while fearing for their lives," HRW said.
The United States and its allies evacuated more than 120,000 of their citizens and at-risk Afghans after the Taliban toppled the Western-backed government in Kabul in mid-August.
Thousands more people want to leave the war-torn country.
Some foreign airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines and Iran's Mahan Air, have operated flights to and from Kabul since the Taliban takeover.
According to HRW, some Afghans with Ukrainian passports were in Afghanistan visiting their relatives when Taliban took control of most of the country.
It cited some of the Afghans with Ukrainian citizenship as saying that they have been unable to get any information or support from the Ukrainian authorities.
Officials at Ukraine's Foreign Ministry "have made contradictory statements about further evacuations, while Ukrainian embassies in Pakistan and Tajikistan, tasked with assisting evacuations and issuing visas, have so far been unresponsive to pleas for visas or information," according to the statement.
"Once flights resume, the Ukrainian government should step up efforts to provide nationals and Afghans at risk with evacuation, protection, and assistance, including prioritizing visas for their families or giving them the opportunity to seek asylum. Their lives may depend on it," it concluded.
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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