Afghans Evacuated From Kabul In U.S. Airlift Arrive In Kosovo

A planeload of Afghan citizens landed in Kosovo on August 29 after fleeing their country following the takeover by the Taliban.

The Afghans arrived at Pristina’s airport on a U.S. Air Force flight and were welcomed by Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani, Prime Minister Albin Kurti, and U.S. Ambassador Philip Kosnett.

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The government has said Kosovo will temporarily host about 2,000 Afghans who worked with U.S. and NATO forces or with foreign organizations. The Afghans who arrived on August 29 -- a group of at least 100 men, women, and children -- are the first to be welcomed by Kosovo.

Kosovo has already approved temporary protection for Afghans who fear reprisals from the Taliban because they worked with U.S. and NATO forces and their families during the war. Kosovar authorities have said that under the law, Afghans will be offered temporary shelter for up to a year.

Hundreds of other Afghans who fled Kabul arrived in Albania in recent days. Albania said it can house up to 4,000 Afghans. North Macedonia has also expressed its readiness to shelter Afghans.

The United States and other governments have been racing to evacuate Afghan citizens and their own nationals from Kabul airport as the August 31 deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan approaches.

Kosovo, Albania, and North Macedonia joined the United States and dozens of other countries in a joint statement in which they committed to ensuring that Afghans who worked for the countries who are at risk can continue traveling freely to destinations outside Afghanistan.

The joint statement said the countries have been assured by the Taliban that all foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with travel authorization will be allowed to leave.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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