Czech Republic to evacuate staff from Embassy in Kabul

As Taliban forces advance on Afghanistan's capital, the Czech Republic is arranging evacuation for its employees and their families in Kabul.


Written by ČTK Published on 15.08.2021 09:55:00 (updated on 15.08.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic will evacuate local staff from the Czech embassy in Kabul, including their families, PM Andrej Babiš, Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek, and Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar wrote in a press release on Saturday night.

Taliban forces are quickly approaching Afghanistan's capital city following the withdrawal of Allied forces, and fears of violence against those who worked with foreign forces are mounting.

The Czech Republic will also relocate interpreters who helped the Czech military and asked for relocation, the officials added in their statement released after an extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council.

Evacuation flights are scheduled for the forthcoming days. The Government Office refused to share further details until the rescue operation is accomplished.

Previously on Saturday, Kulhánek decided to evacuate two Czech diplomats serving in the embassy in Kabul. They were escorted to the local international airport.

According to a press release, the National Security Council leadership discussed the development of the situation in Afghanistan and the evacuation of the Czech embassy in Kabul. Afterwards, it decided to evacuate both local staff of the embassy and Afghan interpreters, the Government Office said.

Babiš said the National Security Council has approved the steps that will follow.

"We are doing our best for the safe return of our diplomats. When it comes to aid for collaborators of the Czech military, we want to take care of them, we are working on it and have a plan to do it," Babiš said.

The Czech Prime Minister added that the situation is going worse, and reiterated his criticism of the withdrawal of NATO troops from the country.

Kulhánek said the Czech Republic had been taking all necessary steps to ensure Czech diplomats are able to leave Afghanistan safely. He added that the diplomats were escorted to the local international airport by the Czech military's Kamba unit, the only one still in the country charged with guarding Czech embassy in Kabul.

"We will take care of local employees of our embassy, like all European states do. These people served the Czech Republic and we bear full responsibility for them," Kulhánek said.

"Women and small children of our collaborators are facing torture and death. We simply cannot allow that," he added.

"I highly esteem the work of the interpreters. We will take care of them and their families. We will relocate those who showed their interest in being relocated into the Czech Republic," Metnar said.

In the past days, the Czech government has been criticized for its late response to helping Afghan interpreters and others who have collaborated with the Czech military. Opposition parties welcomed last night's announcement.

"This is the only right and possible solution as long as we want the world to take us for a reliable ally. The government should realise that literally every minute counts," TOP 09 chairwoman Markéta Pekarová Adamová said.

In contrast, former foreign minister Tomáš Petříček criticized the government's attitude. He noted that the cabinet had already approved the aid in late July.

"Since then, the Taliban progresses rapidly and the help to those facing death threats lags behind. We are sending a signal to our current and future collaborators, showing how much we esteem their work," he tweeted.

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