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Foreign Minister: Finland still trying to evacuate 50 people from Afghanistan

Minister Pekka Haavisto also said that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has begun preparations to speed up family reunifications.

 Flygfältet i Kabul. En folksamling framför en Air Force Boeing C-17. Soldater övervakar.
File photo of Kabul International Airport. Image: AOP

Finnish authorities are still attempting to arrange the safe evacuation of around 50 people from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) told Yle's Ykkösaamu morning show.

The figure includes about 30 Finnish citizens covered by the government's evacuation decree, Haavisto said, and an estimated 20 people with permanent residence permits in Finland who requested consular assistance.

Finland evacuated some 400 people from Afghanistan during the month of August after the Taliban military group took power in the country.

Haavisto further revealed that a major evacuation operation in the Afghan capital Kabul led to "a number of people" being evacuated to Finland via Doha, the capital of Qatar.

"This task continues. We strive to help those who have been promised help and get them out of the country," Haavisto said, adding that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also begun preparations to speed up family reunifications.

The ministry is investigating whether reunifications can be accelerated through consular units operating around Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, or the Iranian capital Tehran.

However, the timetable for evacuations and family reunifications is open because the situation in Afghanistan is still unstable, with Haavisto saying that Kabul Airport is still not operating as normal and commercial flights are not following normal aviation standards and schedules.

He added that Finland has allowed people to be evacuated via Kabul airport with the help of certain other countries, such as Qatar, and the aim is to continue this cooperation.

"On behalf of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, we are in regular contact with all those who have requested consular assistance and we strive to ensure their safety by all means possible to find a way out of Afghanistan as safely as possible," Haavisto said.

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