The Finnish government announced on Friday its decision to evacuate to Finland 130 Afghans - including translators, assistant personnel working for the Finnish troops and the Embassy, with their families - to save them from the advance of the Taliban insurgents.
The decision has been made according to section 93 of the Aliens Act, for special humanitarian reasons and in order to fulfill Finland's international obligations.
According to the government decision, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website, the transfer of these people to Finland will be carried out by means of a charter flight hired by the State.
The estimated cost of the operation will be at least 700,000 euros, according to the preliminary figure provided by the government.
Taliban rebels yesterday conquered Kandahar, the second largest city of the country, and already control at least 15 of the 34 provincial capitals and two thirds of the Afghan territory. In view of the danger faced by people who have worked for foreign troops and governments, several countries have decided to evacuate their local staff.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto explained at a press conference on Friday that the evacuees are Afghan personnel who have assisted Finnish peacekeepers and diplomats since 2001. The evacuation offer is extended to their family members and unmarried children living in the same household, according to the government decision.
The government, in accordance with section 113 of the Aliens Act, also says it will provide residence permits to the evacuees who have worked for Finland, NATO or the European Union (EU) and their families.
For now, the Finnish Embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, will remain open. However, the government does not rule out evacuating her if the situation worsens.
The United States, Great Britain and Canada have announced that they will send troops to Kabul to protect the evacuation of their personnel, in case the Taliban attack the city.