The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday, August 23, that 27 more Filipinos were still in Afghanistan, most of whom requested for evacuation from the country.
Among the 27 Filipinos who were still in Afghanistan, the DFA said 17 requested for assistance to leave, while 10 signified their intent to stay in the country.
The decision of several Filipinos to remain in Afghanistan comes as the DFA had called for mandatory evacuation on August 15, after the Afghan government collapsed and Taliban forces took control of the nation.
While the Philippine government raised its highest alert level 4 over the country, as with similar calls made in the past, it cannot compel all Filipinos to leave.
The DFA on Monday said it does its “best to convince people to leave” and will continue assist Filipinos as long as possible.
In its latest update, the DFA also said seven Filipinos were able to leave the capital Kabul for Almaty, Kazakhstan, including five who fled on Sunday, August 22, and two others who were able to flee last week, but whose whereabouts were only recently confirmed.
Since the crisis deepened in Afghanistan in recent weeks, 182 Filipinos have left Afghanistan, making their way to countries like the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Kuwait, and Kazakhstan. Others were also assisted by the Indonesian government, after seeking shelter in the Indonesian embassy in Kabul.
Attempts to evacuate Filipinos in Afghanistan have remained difficult and uncertain as chaos and unrest continue to grip the airport and journey to Kabul.
Philippine officials said that some Filipinos who were able to leave the country will not return to the Philippines “for various reasons.”
Along with foreigners leaving the country, thousands of Afghans were also seeking to flee the Taliban’s rule.
The Philippines earlier said it would open its doors to Afghan refugees, citing it was in line with the country’s long history of taking in asylum seekers since the first World War. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com