PH starts evacuation of Filipinos from war-torn Afghanistan

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has started the evacuation of Filipinos from embattled Afghanistan as most of that country has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.

A total of 32 Filipinos have been evacuated on Sunday night from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul while 19 more are set to leave amid the worsening security situation there following the takeover of Taliban insurgents.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday it was making arrangements for the repatriation of Filipinos still left in Kabul.

“The Department and its Foreign Service Posts in the region and beyond are exploring all avenues of cooperation and are closely coordinating with governments and international partners to guarantee their immediate and safe passage,” the statement read.

The 32 evacuated Filipinos are now in Doha, Qatar waiting for their flights back to the Philippines.

On Sunday, the DFA has issued alert level 4 or mandatory repatriation and evacuation of Filipinos in Afghanistan.

In a situation bulletin, the DFA said there are an estimated 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan.

Over Twitter, DFA Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr said: “We’re on this; we’re taking out our people with chartered flights; we’re sparing no expense. I am reaching out to our only military ally to watch our back.”

Filipinos are told to contact the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, which has jurisdiction over Afghanistan, through Whatsapp and Viber at +923335244762; Messenger/Facebook: facebook.com/atnofficers.islamabadpe or facebook.com/OFWHelpPH and e-mail at isbpeatn@gmail.com.

Alert level 4 is raised when there is large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack. Under this level, the government undertakes the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in the area.

 

Since the US begins its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last May, the Talibans have started to swiftly seize several areas.

In just weeks, the Talibans have overrun most provinces with little resistance and on Sunday took over capital Kabul.

Afghan Pres. Ashraf Ghani fled the country, effectively collapsing the government, as chaos and fear gripped the capital and thousands try to escape.

The insurgents’ return to power came two decades after they were ousted.

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