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Passenger airplanes in Kabul yesterday. Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Kabul

Work ongoing to get 60 Irish citizens out of Afghanistan, says Coveney

The minister said that Ireland has now granted 280 refugee status papers to Afghan citizens who want to leave and are in danger.

WORK IS CONTINUING on evacuating 60 Irish citizens and 15 Afghans with Irish residency out of Afghanistan, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said today.

Gunfire was heard across Kabul as the last US troops left Afghanistan on Monday, ending a 20-year war.

Speaking to reporters today, Coveney said there are 60 Irish citizens and family members remaining in Afghanistan.

“We’re working with all of them through our consular team,” he said.

In addition, there is about 15 Afghan citizens who are Irish residents, he added.

“We’re also working with them and I’ve asked our team to treat them as Irish citizens, as well as Irish residents,” said Coveney. 

Ireland and 90 other countries have received assurances from the Taliban that anybody wishing to leave Afghanistan after the deadline this week who has the appropriate papers will be allowed to do so, said the minister.

“It’s a big priority for me now to get the people” and bring them back home to Ireland, said Coveney.

The minister said that Ireland has now granted 280 refugee status papers to Afghan  citizens who want to leave and are in danger. 

Around 32 have already come to Ireland, he confirmed. 

“There are many others who will want to come,” he said.

Over 100 family reunification cases are also in train, where families in Ireland will be reunited with family members in Afghanistan, primarily in Kabul, said Coveney.

“So there’s a lot of work to do in terms of our consular team… we will continue those efforts, as I think many other countries will, who have citizens in very similar circumstances,” he concluded.

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