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26th Aug 2021

Irish army rangers and diplomats to withdraw from Kabul following terror attack threat

Stephen Porzio

Irish citizens and residents still in Afghanistan are advised against coming to or remaining at Kabul airport.

The process for Irish army rangers and diplomats to withdraw from Kabul has begun and will continue across today (26 August), according to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

The news comes as people in Afghanistan have been warned to avoid Kabul airport amid a “very high threat” of a terror attack in the region.

Numerous Western nations have warned their citizens to immediately leave the area as thousands of people have continued to flock to the airport over recent weeks seeking a way out of the country, with 90,000 being evacuated so far.

In a statement on Thursday, Coveney said: “The pre-planned process of the withdrawal of our ECAT [Emergency Consular Aid Team] mission to Kabul has begun and will continue across the course of today.

“Irish diplomats and members of the Army Ranger Wing have aided a number of Irish citizens and residents to evacuate from Afghanistan. Those evacuation flights are ongoing today and for security and operational reasons, we will not give detail on numbers until the ECAT has left Kabul.

“Given the change in security status at Kabul Airport, remaining Irish citizens and residents in Kabul and beyond have been advised against coming to or remaining at the airport as gates are no longer open.”

Coveney also said “ongoing consular support” will continue for Irish citizens and residents in Afghanistan.

The Emergency Consular Assistance Team, consisting of officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Defence Forces personnel, was deployed to Kabul airport earlier in the week.

On Thursday morning, the Minister said on Twitter that the Department of Foreign Affairs was in continuous contact with all Irish individuals and families in Afghanistan to support and advise.

Main image via Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie