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Three Kenyans evacuated from Kabul, nine others wait

Indians prepare to board an Indian military aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 17, 2021. Hundreds are being evacuated from the country after Taliban’s stunning takeover of Afghanistan.

AFP
Three Kenyans are stranded in Kabul, Afghanistan while 52 others have been evacuated to the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan following the takeover of the city by the Taliban, an update from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

“The Kenyan Embassy in Beijing has reached out to more Kenyans and established that 12 Kenyans who have been working for private contractors were evacuated to Birmingham in the UK on Wednesday August 18. Another group of 40 was evacuated to Kazakhstan late last night,” an update from the ministry noted.

Earlier, the ministry had confirmed that one Kenyan who was safely evacuated arrived in the country on Wednesday and that two others will be jetting in later tonight (Thursday).

The ministry reiterated that efforts by Kenyan missions to intervene and have Kenyans stranded in Kabul evacuated to safety by the companies they work for are being treated as a matter of urgency.

“Kenyan missions in the region continue to reach out to Kenyans employed in the security sector and others engaged by private companies who are yet to be evacuated by their employees,” added the statement.

No diplomatic presence

The government notes that Kenyans working and living in Kabul are either employed in the security sector, private companies or international organisations as Kenya has no diplomatic presence in Afghanistan.

The Kenyans are employed by the Swedish Committee (2), Supreme Audi Office-World Bank (2), International Rescue Committee (1), International Development Law Organisation (1), Danish Committee for Aid to Afghanistan Refugees (1), MEDAIR (1), Action Contre La Faim (2), Handicap International (1) and Intersos (1).

The government’s response followed uproar that followed their Monday indication that they had given primary responsibility for evacuation to employers of Kenyans who had been stationed in the Central Asian country.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau had said that due to lack of diplomatic representation in Afghanistan, the organisations that sent the Kenyans there must be the very ones to rescue stranded Kenyans. This drew the ire of some Kenyans online.

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said the High Commission in Pakistan, as well as missions in Beijing and Tehran, the three countries neighbouring Afghanistan, will work with local authorities to see how the remaining Kenyans can be evacuated to safety.

Past brutality

The Taliban took over Kabul after the US withdrew its military deployment. The group, known for their past brutality against those who do not believe in their tough version of Islam, have this week promised to protect all foreign installations in Afghanistan.

But it still suffers from a trust deficit, given how it made similar promises and violated them while in power between 1996 and 2001. Back then, they attacked an Iranian consulate and killed several diplomats.

Their sudden control of the country has led to mass evacuations as foreign workers rush to leave the country amid safety concerns.

It is feared that Taliban’s new-found control could lead to lawlessness in the country, as well as spelling security concerns for foreigners. – nation.co.ke