Finland has already facilitated the evacuation of more than 200 people from Kabul airport, which remains mired in chaos after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan and thousands of people are trying to flee.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto reported on Tuesday through his Twitter account that members of the staff of the Finnish embassy in Kabul and their families have already been evacuated from the battered Asian country.
Suurlähetystön paikalta palkattu henkilökunta ja heidän perheenjäsenensä on nyt evakuoitu suunnitellusti. Kaikkiaan evakuoituja on nyt yli 200. Maanantaina evakuoituihin kuului myös n. 40 henkeä EU-delegaatiosta. Suurin osa evakuoiduista on naisia ja lapsia. Evakuoinnit jatkuvat.— Pekka Haavisto (@Haavisto) August 24, 2021
In total, there are already more than 200 people whose evacuation has facilitated Finland, although not all of them will end up in the Nordic country. Among them are about 40 people who were members of the European Union delegation in Kabul.
Unlike many European countries, Finland refuses to show images of Afghan refugees upon arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, citing "security" and "privacy" concerns. However, the Finnish Armed Forces released on Tuesday four pictures taken in Kabul showing Finnish soldiers assisting evacuations, especially of women and children.
The evacuation by Finland of Afghan personnel has been mired in controversy and generated rejection, especially by right-wing sectors and politicians close to the right-wing populist 'True Finns' (Perussuomalaiset) party. They claim on social media that they do not want more refugees in the country and argue that the government especially brings young men instead of women and children.
Women and children
They also denounce that some of the evacuees were already refugees residing in Finland who had traveled at their own risk to Afghanistan despite enjoying international protection precisely because of the danger they face in their country of origin.
The photos taken by the Finnish armed forces on the ground mainly show local women and children. Also Foreign Minister Haavisto said in his tweet that most of the evacuees are "women and children" and that the evacuations "continue".
About those arriving in Finland, there are no images. According to a statement from the Ministry of the Interior, upon arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa airport the evacuees are subjected to a Covid-19 test and then transferred to reception centers "in various parts of the country" to be housed until they receive their residence permits.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, each of the new Afghan refugees will receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds valid for 4 years.
"The Finnish Immigration Service is prepared to process the residence permits with urgency," the Ministry wrote in its statement.