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Uganda receives 51 out of expected 2, 000 Afghan refugees

By Winfrey Owino | August 25th 2021

Evacuees crowd the interior of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, carrying some 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan August 15, 2021. The picture was taken on August 15, 2021. [Reuters]

The Government of the Republic of Uganda has received some 51 evacuees from Afghanistan days after the Taliban took over Kabul, the country’s capital city.

The 51 are part of the 2, 000 refugees who are expected to arrive in Uganda, for a temporary stay as the United States makes a plan on the way forward.

In a statement dated August 25, the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they arrived at the Entebbe International Airport aboard a privately chartered flight.

“The decision to host those in need is informed by our government’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress and playing a responsible role in matters of international concern,” the foreign affairs ministry said.

The ministry says the evacuees, who include men, women and children, underwent mandatory Covid-19 testing and required quarantine procedures before jetting into the country and that more are expected in the country in the coming days.

On Saturday, August 14, Uganda’s Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees minister, Esther Anyakun, said the landlocked country would be a temporary home to about 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.

The Daily Monitor reported the minister was acting on a request from the US government that was approved by President Yoweri Museveni, allowing the refugees in the country for three months as the US government meets the expenses.

"We expect to host them temporarily before they can be relocated by the US government," Anyakun said.

Reports by the BBC indicated the Taliban swept across Afghanistan in just 10 days, taking control of towns and cities across the country after taking their first provincial capital on August 6 and by August 15, they were at the gates of Kabul.

Their takeover prompted tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, many arriving in the Afghan capital, others heading for neighbouring countries as chaos intensified in Kabul.

President Ashraf Ghani fled the country leaving thousands of his countrymen and women with no option but to pull the same move.

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