You're on your own, Kenyans in Afghanistan told

Thursday August 19 2021
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Indians prepare to board an Indian military aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 17, 2021. They were evacuated after the Taliban's stunning takeover of Afghanistan. PHOTO | AFP

By The East African

Kenyans working in Afghanistan will be evacuated by their respective employers, the government has said. 

In response to queries on the safety of Kenyans working in the troubled country, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau reassured that there were no Kenyans officially on assignment as diplomats or any other government duty. 

"Kenya has neither diplomatic presence nor accreditation to Afghanistan," Amb Kamau said, indicating that the primary duty for safety of Kenyans lay with their deploying organisations.

But he did say that Kenya was aware of those who have been in the troubled country as international agencies' staff, noting that they have began evacuating their employees.

Some Kenyans, he said, were in Afghanistan as private contractors or legal experts for agencies like the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO). 

As such, Mr Kamau said, Nairobi had contacted the agency's head offices in Rome regarding evacuation plans.

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"We did a letter to IDLO country office and their headquarters in Rome. We are following up to find out if there are known Kenyans stranded there through the High Commission in Pakistan."

Kenya, like most African countries, has no embassy or even diplomatic accreditation to Afghanistan. Nairobi's nearest diplomatic mission is the High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan. But even the High Commissioner there is not accredited to Kabul, meaning Kenya will be using third parties to gather facts regarding its nationals on the ground.

Number unclear
Because there are no embassy records, the exact number of Kenyans in Afghanistan remains unclear.

Kenya says continuous instability over the years had made it difficult to establish a diplomatic presence. 

Amb Kamau also told Nation.Africa that he doesn't expect that there are Kenyans in Afghanistan on their own running private businesses given the security situation.

Afghanistan, troubled for the last two decades, fell into the hands of the Taliban after it overran the national army, three weeks after the US withdrew its military deployment. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has since fled the country.

There were scenes of chaos in Kabul after the Taliban marched into the capital Kabul, signifying the complete takeover of the country.

The situation has led to mass evacuations as foreign workers rush to leave the country amid safety concerns.

It is feared that Taliban's new-found control could lead to lawlessness in the country, as well as spelling security concerns for foreigners.

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