Romania’s foreign minister has welcomed 139 Afghan citizens to the capital Bucharest. The group was initially evacuated from Afghanistan to neighboring Pakistan before flying to Romania.
Greeting them at the airport after their plane touched down, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said it was “very emotional to meet them personally and say ‘Welcome!”
“I told them that Romanian authorities would do everything possible to offer these friends of Romania, so sorely tried, to offer them decent living conditions and the chance of starting over again.”
He was joined at the airport on Thursday evening by the Army chief of staff and other officials.
He said the arrivals included people who had worked with Romanian troops, students with scholarships, magistrates, journalists „and other vulnerable groups.”
Some of the evacuees already have residence permits, the minister said.
Romanian officials say a total of 156 Afghans have been evacuated since the U.S pulled out of Afghanistan.
Romania has also repatriated 49 Romanian nationals and airlifted seven citizens of other allied states since the Taliban takeover.
The minister said eight Romanian citizens remain in Afghanistan who so far have not asked to be repatriated.
Romania joined the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan in 2002, two years before it joined the military alliance.
Twenty-seven Romanian troops were killed and more than 200 were injured during the mission.