MANILA - Thirty-five Filipinos who were were evacuated by their respective companies out of Afghanistan arrived in Manila on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement, the agency said the Filipinos joined the DFA chartered plane from Doha, Qatar. They arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez of the DFA Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy (OPCD) said his agency is working “non-stop” to ensure the safety and welfare of Filipinos in Afghanistan amid challenges.
“The DFA is working non-stop to explore all options to ensure the safety and welfare of our people in Afghanistan in the face of challenging conditions,” Meñez said.
On Sunday, the DFA issued Alert Level 4 in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured key cities, including the capital Kabul. Under the alert level, the Philippine government will undertake mandatory evacuation of all Filipinos in the area.
The insurgents on Sunday took over Kabul with surprising ease days before President Joe Biden was to complete a final withdrawal of US forces, ending America's longest war after 20 years.
Videos taken from the airport showed hundreds of Afghans flooding onto the runways and trying to impede the takeoff of one of the US transports. Two armed Afghan men were killed by US forces as thousands sought to board flights.
A Filipino in Afghanistan told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday he is with around 18 other compatriots in an evacuation center near the Kabul International Airport, awaiting an opportunity to fly out.
He shared that just the night before, the Taliban attempted to enter their compound but were prevented by the British security company there.
According to the DFA, there were 132 Filipinos in Afghanistan at the time of the crisis.
– Reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News; and Agence France-Presse
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