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Amir approves transit of 5,000 Afghan evacuees

KUWAIT: A handout picture released by the US embassy in Kuwait shows American Ambassador in Kuwait Alina Romanowski talking to military personnel as she checks on US evacuees from Afghanistan transiting through Kuwait.-AFP

KUWAIT: Kuwait approved the transit of 5,000 Afghan nationals, who have been evacuated from their country to the US under the directions of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the foreign ministry said on Sunday. This move comes in “recognition of the strategic relations between the State of Kuwait and the United States of America,” according to the ministry statement.

It also aims to “enhance the existing cooperation between them and in continuation of the humanitarian role of the State of Kuwait, which calls for the importance of securing safe passage for diplomats and foreign nationals and the facilitation of evacuations from Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Kuwait Alina Romanowski has lauded Kuwait for the cooperation for evacuating American citizens and at-risk locals from Afghanistan and has deeply appreciated its support at this level. “Over the past several days, the United States has mobilized an unprecedented global effort to evacuate US citizens, personnel from partner nations, and at-risk individuals from Kabul,” the US ambassador said in a press statement released yesterday.

“The state department is working around the clock with our allies and partners in every region of the world to mobilize resources to save and protect both Americans and our partners facing danger in Afghanistan. We deeply appreciate the support our allies have offered and are proud to partner with them in our shared support of the Afghan people. Kuwait, one of our closest friends in the Middle East, quickly rose to the occasion and lent a helping hand.

The Kuwaiti Government generously chartered planes from Kuwait Airways to help facilitate this essential evacuation operation. Thank you to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his commitment to this humanitarian effort and our joint partnership, and his approval of the safe transit of 5,000 Afghans through Kuwait to onward destinations,” she said.

“Since August 16, more than 850 Americans and personnel at embassy in Kabul transited safely from Afghanistan to the United States via Kuwait on five separate flights. Kuwaiti government chartered flights also transferred more than 400 Nepali Local Guards from the US embassy in Kabul to Nepal. This is not the first time Kuwait has stood by the United States. In 2005, for example, Kuwait pledged $500 million in aid to US relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, the single largest donation of its kind at the time,” the statement said.

“Today, Kuwait is a major non-NATO ally and a vital strategic partner to the United States not only on a bilateral basis, but also on working together for stability in the region, for progress, for peace, and bringing countries together. “Since 2003, Kuwait has supported US and coalition operations in Iraq and continues to play an integral role in the fight against ISIS. Moreover, Kuwait is a gracious host to American troops, which allows us to continue our mission of helping to defend our regional partners.

The United States deeply values its friendship with Kuwait, and we look forward to marking 60 years of diplomatic ties this September. As Secretary Blinken said last week following his phone call with Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah: “We deeply appreciate the Kuwaiti government’s support, a prime example of our enduring partnership,” the statement added. – KUNA

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