Uganda welcomes evacuees from Afghanistan, honoring a US request.

At least 51 people who fled Afghanistan landed in Uganda on Wednesday, authorities said, the first to arrive in an African country amid ...

At least 51 people who fled Afghanistan landed in Uganda on Wednesday, authorities said, the first to arrive in an African country amid the race to complete these evacuations before the United States withdraws its military Afghanistan by the end of the month.

Uganda said last week it was preparing to temporarily accommodate evacuees from Afghanistan following a request from the US government. The East African nation is Africa’s largest refugee host country – with nearly 1.5 million internally displaced people living within its borders – and the first fourth host of refugees around the world, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

The arrival of the evacuees came 10 days after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and hours after President Biden said the United States was on the verge of pulling out before the August 31 deadline. . Their arrival also came as the Pentagon said it airlifted its largest daily number of evacuees from Kabul airport on Tuesday. Some of them are now reaching countries which, like Uganda, have agreed to serve as temporary transit stops.

In Uganda on Wednesday morning, evacuees underwent a security check and were tested for the coronavirus, the foreign ministry said. The media shared photos of them on social networks arriving at a local hotel.

Ugandan officials said the United States was paying for the upkeep of the evacuees, with aid groups like Mercy Corps also promising to intervene.

The evacuees arrived on a private flight chartered by the Rockefeller Foundation and other donors, according to Ashley E. Chang, the foundation’s media relations manager.

Uganda’s foreign ministry said there were also plans to have Ugandans travel on the chartered flight, but due to “difficulties in accessing Kabul airport, they were unable to do so. “.

Arrangements have been made to evacuate these Ugandan citizens on a subsequent flight, the ministry said.

The authorities did not specify the nationality of those who arrived in Uganda on Wednesday. But Okello Oryem, a deputy minister at the Foreign Office, said in an interview that Afghans and people from other countries, including Europe and the United States, were expected as part of the evacuation plan.

Ms Chang also said Wednesday’s flight was carrying at-risk Afghan adults – as well as minors – who worked with US-funded non-governmental organizations, special immigrant visa applicants and many other qualified people. for P2 visas reserved for artists and animators.

American officials have been in contact with countries around the world – including Canada, Kuwait, Mexico and Qatar – that have agreed to serve as transit points or have announced their intention to grant refugee status or resettlement to people fleeing Afghanistan .

United States provides more than $ 970 million in development and military assistance to Uganda each year. It supports education and agriculture and provides antiretroviral therapy to more than 990,000 Ugandans living with HIV.

President Yoweri Museveni – who has ruled Uganda with an iron fist since 1986 and has been re-elected for a sixth term in January after a bloody election – is also a key US military ally, deploying troops to fight the Qaeda-linked group Al Shabab in Somalia.

Uganda now hosts nearly 1.5 million refugees who have fled violence in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan – conflicts in which critics say Museveni’s government has stuck. mixed up.

Authorities have not specified how and when the evacuees will arrive from Afghanistan. But Mr Oryem said the government would not rush them to leave.

“These are people who are traumatized and who have gone through difficulties,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Uganda welcomes evacuees from Afghanistan, honoring a US request.
Uganda welcomes evacuees from Afghanistan, honoring a US request.
Newsrust - US Top News
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