Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has stated that Ireland will be accepting 100 to 150 Afghan refugees and expects a lot more in the coming weeks and months.
He stated that they will be prioritising refugees from human rights organisations and the media, women and girls as well as family members of Afghan nationals that are living in Ireland.
Coveney stated that Ireland has already approved 45 visa waivers for people seeking to flee from Afghanistan.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is also aware of 23 Irish nationals that are currently living in Afghanistan, with 15 seeking to flee the country following the Taliban’s takeover.
Thousands of Afghan and foreign nationals gathered at Kabul’s main airport in an attempt to secure a flight out of the country.
A meeting will be held today by the UN Security Council in New York at 3pm (Irish time) to assess the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
In relation to the situation, Coveney stated, “It’s a very chaotic and fearful time. Afghanistan essentially has capitulated to the Taliban who are people who are essentially driven by an extreme form of Islam and we know their record in terms of how they treat women and girls, the brutality of their rule. So I think there’s an enormous amount of uncertainty and the Security Council would be trying to address that,”.
It’s understood that the Department of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with Irish nationals who are living in Afghanistan either directly or through NGOs.
Those who wanted to leave were placed on flights that have now been cancelled.
In an attempt to get these people out of Afghanistan, Ireland has been coordinating with the EU as well as the US but Coveney stated that it wouldn’t be appropriate to give details about those plans.
According to Coveney, it’s likely that Ireland will accept increased numbers of refugees from Afghanistan over the coming weeks.