No clear timeframe from Government on evacuation of Irish citizens from Afghanistan

No clear timeframe from Government on evacuation of Irish citizens from Afghanistan

The Irish government is working to get citizens out of Afghanistan. Picture: PA

The Irish Government has declined to specify how long it believes it will take to evacuate Irish citizens from Afghanistan.

On Monday, an Irish woman living in Kabul said she believed she may be able to leave the Taliban-controlled city within 48 hours.

When asked if the Irish Government was working to the same two-day timeline, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs declined to answer the question directly.

A spokesperson said: “The Embassy in Abu Dhabi is in direct and ongoing contact with Irish citizens who remain in Afghanistan and are known to us – or, in a small number of cases, with the organisations with which they work.”

“We are working closely with other EU Member States, most of whom also have citizens in the country, with regards to options for repatriation flights. There are no commercial flights in operation we understand.”

“The Department is not in a position to disclose the details of Irish citizens in Afghanistan.”

Aoife MacManus who is currently in Kabul (Aoife MacManus)

A meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Tuesday discussed efforts “to ensure that EU citizens seeking to leave Afghanistan are facilitated to do so as soon as possible”.

Speaking after the meeting, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “EU Member States are coordinating intensively on the evacuation of EU citizens, as well as on Afghan staff working with EU Embassies and organisations.

“Good progress was made in today’s discussion, although the situation on the ground in Kabul remains fluid, including in relation to access to the airport.”

On Monday, Aoife MacManus, from Ashbourne in Meath, said she believed that Kabul airport would be operating fully in 48 hours.

Ms MacManus has been in the Afghan city for two years working in the primary education sector. She is one of the small number of Irish citizens still in Afghanistan and trying to flee from the Taliban.

In recent months, as the situation worsened across the country, she had been in contact with the Irish embassy in Abu Dhabi and that contact has intensified in recent days as the Taliban drew closer to the Afghan capital.

On Monday morning, Mr Coveney said that his department was working to get 15 Irish nationals out of Afghanistan.

Speaking on Tuesday about the Government’s decision to provide 150 humanitarian visas for Afghans, Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman acknowledged that the situation remained uncertain.

“The situation is incredibly fluid, but the fact the airport has opened today is a welcome development,” he said.

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