At least five Ugandans have said they will not be leaving Afghanistan despite the ongoing evacuation of foreign nationals after the takeover of the troubled country by the Taliban.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kampala, John Mulimba the Minister of State for Regional Cooperation said the government is only aware of 17 Ugandans who have been living and working in Afghanistan.
Mulimba said Ugandans travel in many ways and government can only know those who travel officially. He says that 10 Ugandans were working with the British Embassy in Kabul and have already been evacuated to the UK while seven have been working with the American embassy and only two were willing to come back to Uganda.
Mulimba called upon the public that if they are aware and have contacts of other Ugandans in Afghanistan they should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that they can coordinate with the government of the United States of America to also have them evacuated before the August 31 deadline that was given to foreign forces to exit Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, Uganda received the first batch of Afghani evacuees whose life is said to have been in danger after the collapse of the American backed government of Ashiraf Ghani under the weight of the Taliban.
America and other western countries are set to evacuate more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan.
Asked what Uganda is going to benefit from hosting these Afghanis, Mulimba said nothing other than responding to a call of humanitarian assistance.
On the choice of Entebbe as the venue for hosting the evacuees even though it is also home to State House, Mulimba said although they are concerned about the security situation, all the necessary safety measures have been put in place to alleviate their worry.
“I don’t remember anybody from Foreign Affairs saying they would be staying at Namboole; that could be your imagination. In any case, it might not be a pleasure to disclose where they are going to stay. These are our visitors who need kind attention; where they are coming from they have been distressed. We need to treat them with a lot of sympathies so that they can recover from the stress. Anybody running away from his country needs comfort,” Mulimba said.
Mulimba added that the government of the United States of America is in charge of all the expenses in regards to the stay of the evacuees as plans to accredit and screening them for health and security are finalized for them to travel to their final destinations.
Initially, it was reported that Uganda would host 2,000 evacuees but the latest reports show that the country might receive less than 1,000. Mulimba said they are not yet sure of when the next batch will be arriving in the country.