Dubai: Repatriation of stranded Afghans from the UAE has almost been completed as more than 18,000 passengers have already flown back to Kabul during the last two and half months.
“Rush is over and we are back to normal as now only limited number of regular flights are operating,” added Masood Azizi, Consul General of Afghanistan in Dubai.
He told Gulf News that most stranded Afghans including those who lost jobs and the job seekers who came on visit visas have already been sent back to Afghanistan. “Our people are still still flying back home but there is no pressure any more,” he said. Around 180,000 Afghans live and work in the UAE and only 17,000 of them had registered with the consulate for repatriation.
UAE praises efforts
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has also praised the efforts made by Afghan Consul General Masood Azizi to repatriate the Afghan nationals stranded in the UAE due suspension of flights as precautionary measures to stem COVID-19 spread.
During a video call early this week, Sheikh Abdullah spoke to diplomats of three countries including the Russian Ambassador Sergei Kuznetsov; German Ambassador Ernst Peter Fischer and Afghan Consul General Masood Azizi, according to WAM. He thanked the diplomats for all their cooperation and support for the Ministry’s efforts to streamline the return of their nationals back home.
Consul General Azizi also thanked the UAE government for its generous assistant to Afghanistan during the coronavirus pandemic and facilitating the Afghan expatriate community in the UAE.
Azizi said that UAE is a strong partner of Afghanistan in areas of peace, security and cultural cooperation. “The UAE has been playing a significant role the Afghan peace process,” he added.
He said that Afghanistan would coordinate with the UAE to celebrate the UAE-Afghan cultural day to showcase the rich Afghan culture in the UAE. “We are not working on plans to portray positive image of our country as we are opening up to the world after the peace deals,” he added.
Azizi said that Afghanistan would make UAE as its transit hub to connect to the rest of the world. “We are planning to establish an air-corridor between Afghanistan and the rest of the world through UAE,” he reiterated. He said that they would soon start exporting fresh fruits and vegetables to the UAE.
UAE relief package
UAE has already sent two relief planes to help Afghanistan fight against COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the UAE dispatched an urgent medical aid shipment to Afghanistan containing 20,000 COVID-19 testing units and equipment. The UAE also sent an aid plane carrying seven metric tons of medical supplies to Afghanistan early this month. The aid would assist approximately 7,000 medical professionals as they work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. .