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Last Italian evacuation flight with 58 Afghan refugees lands in Rome

The Italian Air Force C-130J with 58 Afghan citizens aboard arrived Saturday morning, some 17 hours after it departed from the Kabul airport and after a planned stopover.

Published: 28th August 2021 01:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2021 01:17 PM   |  A+A-

Right after they arrive in Italy, evacuees are issued humanitarian visas and are tested for COVID-19.

Right after they arrive in Italy, evacuees are issued humanitarian visas and are tested for COVID-19. (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

ROME: Italy's final evacuation flight of refugees from Afghanistan has landed at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport.

The Italian Air Force C-130J with 58 Afghan citizens aboard arrived Saturday morning, some 17 hours after it departed from the Kabul airport and after a planned stopover.

Also aboard were Italy's consul and a NATO diplomat who had coordinated evacuations at the Kabul airport.

ALSO READ | Taliban will completely close down media, another North Korea in making: Afghan Pulitzer Prize winner

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy was prepared to work with the United Nations and with countries bordering Afghanistan on what he described as the "more difficult phase."

He said that consisted of efforts to evacuate other Afghan citizens who worked with Italy's military during its 20-year presence in Afghanistan but weren't able to get into Kabul airport in time for the evacuation flights.

He didn't say how many still were eligible for evacuation to Italy.

Rescuing those citizens "would give them the same possibility" of starting a new life outside their homeland, Di Maio said in a brief statement at Rome's airport.

He said the 4,890 Afghans evacuated by Italy's air force in 87 flights was the highest number of any European Union nation.

Italy's remaining soldiers left on a separate flight from Kabul on Friday night.

That air force flight went to Kuwait and the troops are due back in Italy early next week.



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