Afghans evacuated from Kabul in US airlift arrive in Kosovo

Pristina airport (Robot8A/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A planeload of Afghans 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.

Kosovo has agreed to temporarily host about 2,000 at-risk Afghans who worked with U.S.-led international forces while their immigration status to the United States is processed. 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.

They will be sheltered in the former camp of the Bechtel Enka company, located near an American military base in Ferizaj.

Hundreds of other Afghans who fled Kabul arrived in Albania in recent days. Albania said it can temporarily house up to 4,000 Afghans.

Northern Macedonia has also expressed its readiness to temporarily host about 450 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.