Bratislava, August 19 (TASR) – A total of 24 people have been transported to Slovakia from Afghanistan in the past few hours, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO) announced at a press conference also attended by Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO) and chief of Slovak diplomacy Ivan Korcok (SaS nominee) on Thursday.
A Slovak military aircraft carried 20 individuals, while another four arrived on a Czech plane.
Of the total, 16 are Slovak nationals, while the rest are Afghan citizens who have cooperated with the Slovak Armed Forces. The military had to use force during the evacuation, said Nad.
Heger detailed that the youngest person aboard the aircraft was a ten-month-old child. He added that Slovakia is ready to dispatch another aircraft to Afghanistan if needed, but that will depend on coordination with its allies.
Eight Afghan nationals have asked for asylum since arriving in Slovakia from Afghanistan, announced Korcok.
Currently held in a refugee camp in the town of Humenne (Presov region), the Afghans are in quarantine and undergoing asylum procedures. The Migration Office has six months to decide whether they meet the prerequisites of refugee status. Korcok gave assurances that each case will be judged on an individual basis.
Nad added that the entire operation was coordinated from an airport in Tajikistan and took longer than expected partly due to the security situation around Kabul airport, as there were shootouts and prevailing chaos.
Korcok underlined that the Afghans aren’t migrants but refugees. “This isn’t the 2015 migrant wave. This is a wave set into motion by war. These aren’t migrants, they’re refugees who, under the Geneva Convention, have a right to ask for asylum proceedings,” he said.