Finnish foreign ministry: Afghanistan evacuations operation not over

Finland’s operation to evacuate people from Afghanistan has not yet ended, according to the Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Pekka Kaihilahti, despite that the ministry announced the conclusion of air evacuations last week.

The possibility of continuing evacuations by land through neighbouring countries has been discussed as one option, Kaihilahti told Yle TV1’s breakfast TV show Ylen aamu, adding that cooperation with other EU countries will increase as the situation develops.

“The EU has been invisible recently, but the more we move forward here, the more the importance of the EU will come to the fore,” Kaihilahti said.

Finland and the other EU member states can cooperate by using joint influence and sharing contacts, he added, especially as the development aid that Afghanistan needs provides the EU with bargaining power.

“Afghanistan is currently facing a major humanitarian catastrophe, its economy is in a state of collapse and its assets have been frozen abroad. If the Taliban wants to recover from this predicament in some way in the future, it will also need development cooperation,” Kaihilahti stated.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said at a press conference on Saturday that the US helped Finland evacuate an additional 83 people from the Afghan capital on Friday evening after Finnish troops left Afghanistan on Thursday.

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