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More than 100 evacuees from Afghanistan were welcomed on Sunday, August 29, to Pristina, Kosovo, where they would be temporarily sheltered before being resettled in the United States, Kosovo’s government said.
Minister of Internal Affairs Xhelal Svecla said the 111 arrivals were flown from Germany to Kosovo’s Pristina International Airport by the US military, and included people who had worked with NATO in Afghanistan along with their family members.
Further evacuees were due to fly into Kosovo on Monday, Svecla said.
Kosovo had agreed to house up to 2,000 Afghans while they await resettlement in the US, said Blerim Vela, Chief of Staff to Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani, on August 25.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti said he was “honored to greet Afghan citizens.”
“When it comes to a humanitarian issue, when it comes to our partners and allies, such as the United States and NATO, then the question is not why, but we just say how,” Kurti said in a statement.
“I told our guests they are safe and welcome here, and that I will see them soon to make sure every effort of hospitality is being made,” Kurti said.
Both the US Ambassador to Kosovo Philip S Kosnett and UK Ambassador Nicholas Abbott said they were “honored” to be present at the Pristina airport during the arrival of the first group of NATO-affiliated Afghan evacuees.
“By temporarily hosting Afghans en route to permanent homes elsewhere, Kosovo is not only saving lives, but giving Afghans an opportunity to build new ones,” Kosnett tweeted.
Kosovo’s Ministry of Internal Affairs on Monday said that the camp would be closed to both national and international media for a period of time “for the sake of safety and preservation of Afghanistan refugees’ privacy.” Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful