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Sep 16 2021

NATO Afghan evacuees begin journey to resettlement

NAPLES, Italy - Over 100 former NATO Afghan employees and family members began their journey to resettlement in the United Kingdom on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

With the support of NATO's high-readiness Response Force, the Afghan evacuees departed temporary facilities in Kosovo for the United Kingdom on a chartered civilian airline flight from Pristina.

It's all about humanity, it's all about compassion, it's all about making sure we get Afghans at risk to a place of safety

"NATO's commitment is to ensure a safe and compassionate transfer of the evacuees, through temporary locations and on to more definitive resettlement. It is a huge effort, and Allies and partners have come together to make it happen as quickly as possible," said Admiral Robert Burke, Allied Joint Force Command Naples commander. "We wish our Afghan colleagues heading to the UK the very best as they begin a new chapter, as we stay focused on those who remain in our care."

The evacuees are leaving a temporary site in Kosovo, where troops from the NATO Response Force are helping to provide housing, care and support. The site includes individual and family living quarters, dining facilities, medical and dental centres, meeting rooms, recreation areas for adults and children, religious accommodations, and Wi-Fi.

"It's all about humanity, it's all about compassion, it's all about making sure we get Afghans at risk to a place of safety," said Major General John Mead, Allied Joint Force Command Naples Deputy Chief of Staff-Plans.

Elements of the NATO Response Force, including 300 deployed troops, are leading the operation. More than 20 Allied nations are contributing to the evacuation effort, providing transportation aircraft, construction equipment, ambulances, medical teams, civil affairs teams and security personnel.

As some Afghans complete their resettlement, the process continues for others. Around 2,000 Afghans who worked with NATO, and their families, were evacuated from Kabul in August, as part of the largest evacuation mission in NATO's history. NATO worked around the clock to coordinate evacuations. Over the course of two weeks, more than 120,000 people were flown out, on hundreds of Allied flights. Troops from the US, UK, Turkey, and Norway played a key role in securing the airport and operating a field hospital, while around 800 NATO staff maintained key operations such as fueling and communications.

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

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