Italy evacuated 4,890 Afghans says Di Maio

Rome considering joint presence in Kabul with partners

(ANSA) - ROME, SEP 7 - Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Tuesday that Italy managed to get almost 5,000 Afghans out before the Taliban took back total control of the country.
    "In the space of a few days we saved and transferred to Italy 5,011 people, including 4,890 Afghans," Di Maio told the Senate as he reported on the situation in Afghanistan after a tour of the region that took in Qatar, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
    "Over half of them were women and children and they were people who cooperated with the Italian institutions and belong to vulnerable groups.
    "The airbridge conducted thanks to cooperation between all the allies brought a total of over 120,000 people out of Afghanistan, including whole families.
    "Italy is the European country that evacuated the highest number of Afghan citizens".
    He reiterated that Italy, which holds the duty presidency of the G20, wants to hold an extraordinary G20 summit on Afghanistan and the aftermath of the Taliban's return to power, saying this could be preceded by preparatory meetings of foreign ministers.
    He stressed that Italy wants to "remain at the side of the Afghan people" and said the government was considering having a joint presence in Kabul, primarily of a consular nature, with its international partners under the umbrella of the EU or the UN.
    He said the situation at the Afghan border was under control when he visited it during his time in Pakistan but said that there was the risk of an economic and food crisis coming in winter causing a big increase in the flow of refugees. (ANSA).


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