Albania receives first Afghan evacuees after deadly Kabul attacks
TIRANA, Abania – Albania hosted its first group of Afghan evacuees on Friday who managed to leave their country despite days of chaos near Kabul airport, including an attack claimed by ISIS.
A government statement said an Egyptian plane from Almasria Universal Airlines landed at Tirana International Airport at 3:20 am (01:20 GMT) carrying 121 people, including 11 children. It was not clear whether this was the first flight after the two suicide bombings in Kabul that killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 American soldiers, or whether the plane that landed in the Albanian capital came directly from Afghanistan.
“It is the fear of such attacks that has prompted us to do our best to ensure that these citizens come as soon as possible to Albania, where they are far from danger and fear for their lives,” said the Albanian Minister of Affairs. foreign Olta Xhacka. She and US Ambassador Yuri Kim were at the airport to greet the evacuees.
A government source said the flight from Kabul was organized by a US non-governmental association and there was a stopover in Tbilisi, Georgia, before landing in Tirana.
After the plane landed in Tirana, the passengers were given face masks and their information processed in a military tent before being taken on buses to hotels in the nearby port city of Durres, in the Where is. The Albanian government will provide them with food, transport, security services and other basic necessities, according to the foreign minister.
The government plans to allow evacuees to stay in Albania for at least a year before moving to the United States for a final settlement.
Albania could temporarily house up to 4,000 Afghans, people who would be at risk in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Xhacka said they included “educators, artists, intellectuals, civil society activists, human rights organizations or women’s organizations.”
Kim congratulated the Albanian government for agreeing to welcome the evacuees.
Such a decision has been highly evaluated and welcomed by Washington.
“As they always have, the Albanian people are once again offering hospitality and protection to those who need it most,” the US Ambassador tweeted. “We are proud to call you a friend and an ally. Thank you.”