Malacañang urges Filipinos in Afghanistan to seek repatriation amid Taliban takeover

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Following the Taliban’s startling takeover of Afghanistan, Malacañang on Monday encouraged Filipinos in the said country to prepare for repatriation.

To facilitate their repatriation, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque advised Filipinos to liaise with the Philippine embassy in Pakistan, which has jurisdiction over Afghanistan.

“Nanawagan tayo sa mga Pilipino. Nag-alert level 4 na po tayo. Gumagawa na po tayo ng hakbang para tuluyan kayong ma-repatriate. So pupuwede po kayong makipag-ugnayan sa ating embassy, para po kayo ay ma-repatriate na dito sa Pilipinas,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

When there is a large-scale internal conflict or a full-fledged external attack, the alert level is increased to level 4. The government undertakes the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in the area at this level.

Roque cited the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as saying that 32 Filipinos have already been evacuated and are currently awaiting flights back home in Doha, Qatar.

He also stated that a group of 19 more Filipinos will be departing Afghanistan.

According to the DFA, there are around 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Roque said he would delegate responsibility for issuing a statement on the Taliban’s arrival into Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on Sunday to the DFA.

“Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng ating pamahalaan pagdating sa Taliban regime, pero sa larangan po international law, hindi naman po element ng statehood ang recognition,” he said.

“Iyong recognition po ay just declaration na mayroon pang estado at iyong pagri-recognize ng isang gobyerno ay isang mensahe na handa tayong magkaroon ng bilateral relations doon sa bansang iyon. Iiwan ko na po iyan sa DFA iyang ganiyang desisyon,” he added.

Since the United States began its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in May, Taliban fighters have begun to seize a number of areas.

In just a few weeks, the Taliban have taken control of most provinces with little resistance, including Kabul and the presidential palace, which they took over on Sunday.

As chaos and panic overtook the capital as thousands attempted to flee, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani departed the country, essentially toppling the government.

Taliban forces proclaimed their plans to rename Afghanistan’s state the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after entering the country’s abandoned presidential palace.

According to a report from the Anadolu Agency, 64 countries issued a joint declaration late Sunday calling for the safe and orderly exit of anybody who wishes to leave Afghanistan.

Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom were among the countries that signed the joint statement.

“Given the deteriorating security situation, we support, are working to secure, and call on all parties to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country. Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility — and accountability — for the protection of human life and property, and the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” said the statement.

“Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossings must remain open and calm must be maintained, The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them,” it added.

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