UAE will host up to 5,000 Afghans as transit country

Acceptance of Afghan nationals part of wider Emirati efforts to support humanitarian evacuations

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The UAE will host up to 5,000 Afghan citizens before they depart for a third country following a request by the US, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation reported on Friday.

“The UAE is always seeking peaceful, multilateral solutions, and is keen to continue its work alongside its international partners to advance efforts to assist the Afghan people during this time of uncertainty,” Sultan Mohammed Al Shamsi said.

The UAE has already assisted with several Afghanistan evacuation flights travelling through UAE airports, helping about 8,500 people leave the country.

The ministry's statement follows an earlier tweet by Afra Al Hameli, the Ministry's Deputy Director of Strategic Communications, who stated that the UAE would continue to make airports and aircraft available to help with bringing people out of Afghanistan.

The UAE has become a major part of continued evacuations from the Kabul airport, with flights carrying American, British and French citizens arriving in the country in recent days.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted to thank the UAE for its support.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on Thursday Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to express his gratitude for acting as a transit country.

The UK also voiced its appreciation on Wednesday for the UAE's role in the evacuation process.

France's Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly on Tuesday thanked the UAE for their expanding role in the process during a phone call with Mohammed Al Bawardi, UAE Minister of State for Defence Affairs.

French evacuation flights began travelling through the UAE as early as Tuesday.

The US and Nato forces have said they will complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31.

President Joe Biden said on Friday that US troops will stay in the country until all Americans have left in what he called “one of the largest, most complicated airlifts in history".

“Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” he said in remarks from the White House.

Updated: August 22, 2021, 11:36 AM