SL asks India for help to evacuate Lankans in Afghanistan
By Susitha Fernando
Colombo, Aug. 22 (SocialNews.XYZ) Sri Lanka has asked India for help in evacuating nationals held in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country.
The Foreign Ministry said Sri Lanka was deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and was following developments closely.
“Our main concern is the safety and security of Sri Lankans living in Afghanistan and to evacuate them to safety or to Sri Lanka,” the Foreign Ministry said and requested the support of India, the United States. United Kingdom, Pakistan and United Nations to evacuate Sri Lankans in Afghanistan.
Out of 86 Sri Lankans, 46 have already been evacuated and 20 others must be expelled while 20 have chosen to remain in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Sri Lanka hailed the amnesty offered and the Taliban’s promise not to harm any foreigner, and urged the militant group that took control of the country to honor its pledge.
The Sri Lankan government has also praised the Islamic fundamentalist group’s commitment to enable Afghan women to work and girls to go to school.
While expressing concern over the possibilities of mass migration, extremist religious elements trying to find refuge and escalate the illegal drug trade which could have a destabilizing effect on the entire South Asian region. South, Sri Lanka, as a member of SAARC, has pledged to assist any regional efforts in this regard.
However, the Foreign Ministry insisted that since the Taliban are currently in power, the law and order situation be stabilized and the safety, security and dignity of all Afghans be preserved.
Sri Lanka, one of the most predominant Buddhist countries in the world with a majority of 70% of the population, had strongly condemned the Taliban blasting of 6th century Bamiyan Buddha statues in March 2001 as activists controlled the country from 1996 to 2001.