Afghanistan: Switzerland completes evacuation operation
Bern, 27.08.2021 - A total of 385 people have been flown out of Afghanistan in Switzerland's largest evacuation operation to date. The FDFA is in contact with the remaining 11 Swiss nationals in Afghanistan. The evacuation has now been completed and the crisis unit for Afghanistan dissolved. Although the operation has been successful, Switzerland remains concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Kabul and strongly condemns yesterday's attacks.
In the last two weeks, Switzerland has evacuated 385 persons from Afghanistan with assistance from the German army (current figures). This includes 34 Swiss nationals, 218 SDC local staff and their families, 51 people with permanent residence permits for Switzerland and 82 persons with a laissez-passer. The operation, which was one of Switzerland's largest-scale evacuations to date, has been brought to a close. The DDPS detachment and two FDFA security experts assisting the operation at the airport in Kabul returned to Switzerland on Wednesday. The Afghanistan crisis unit, headed by the FDFA's Crisis Management Centre, was officially dissolved today. Switzerland would like to thank its international partners, particularly the German authorities, for their assistance with the evacuation.
218 resettlement refugees in federal asylum centres
So far 218 of the evacuees, the local Afghan employees of the Swiss cooperation office in Kabul and their relatives, have been admitted to Switzerland's resettlement programme. They have been assigned to different federal asylum centres in Switzerland where they are also being given medical treatment. Once their identities have been checked and personal details taken, they will receive asylum in Switzerland and be sent to different cantons where they can begin to integrate into their new communities.
A further 11 Swiss nationals in Afghanistan
The FDFA has identified 11 Swiss nationals and 16 people with residence permits for Switzerland who are still in Afghanistan. Several of the Swiss nationals have been working for international organisations. The embassy in Islamabad, which is in charge of consular matters for Afghanistan, is in contact with them. The FDFA is continuing to work actively to find options for evacuating these people from Afghanistan.
Switzerland condemns Kabul attacks
Switzerland is gravely concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis expressed his sincere condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims of yesterday's attacks in Kabul. The scale of the violence is driving the increasing desperation of the Afghan population and creating more and more displaced people seeking safety and protection. Switzerland condemns all violations of international law and calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights, particularly the rights of minorities, women and girls.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is especially serious. The FDFA is currently examining several appeals for assistance from major international organisations. Alongside short-term humanitarian needs, it is also important to consider the medium and long term. At the diplomatic level, Switzerland is also prepared to provide good offices as a host state, as part of an international conference or by facilitating talks between the parties if requested to do so.
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