At least 51 individuals who fled from Afghanistan landed in Uganda on Wednesday, the authorities mentioned, the primary to reach in an African nation amid the race to finish such evacuations earlier than the United States withdraws its army from Afghanistan by the month’s finish.
Uganda mentioned final week that it was getting ready to briefly host evacuees from Afghanistan after a request from the U.S. authorities. The East African nation is Africa’s high refugee-hosting nation — with practically 1.5 million displaced folks residing inside its borders — and the highest fourth refugee host in the world, in keeping with the United Nations’ refugee company.
The evacuees’ arrival got here 10 days after the Taliban seized management of Afghanistan and hours after President Biden mentioned the United States was on tempo for its withdrawal by the Aug. 31 deadline. Their arrival additionally got here because the Pentagon mentioned it had airlifted its greatest each day variety of evacuees from Kabul’s airport on Tuesday. Some of these at the moment are reaching nations that, like Uganda, agreed to function short-term transit stops.
In Uganda on Wednesday morning, the evacuees underwent a safety screening and had been examined for the coronavirus, the Foreign Ministry mentioned. News retailers shared photographs on social media of them arriving at a native lodge.
Ugandan officers have mentioned that the United States is paying for the evacuees’ repairs, with support teams like Mercy Corps additionally promising to step in.
The evacuees arrived on a flight privately chartered by The Rockefeller Foundation and different funders, in keeping with Ashley E. Chang, the top of the muse’s media relations.
The Ugandan Foreign Ministry mentioned there had additionally been plans to have some Ugandans journey on the chartered flight, however due to “challenges of accessing the airport in Kabul, they were unable to make it.”
Arrangements had been being made to evacuate these Ugandan residents on a subsequent flight, the ministry mentioned.
The authorities didn’t specify the nationalities of the individuals who arrived in Uganda on Wednesday. But Okello Oryem, a junior minister in the Foreign Ministry, mentioned in an interview that Afghans and other people from different nations, together with from Europe and the United States, had been anticipated as a part of the evacuation plan.
Ms. Chang additionally mentioned the flight on Wednesday was carrying at-risk Afghan adults — together with some minors — who labored with U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations, Special Immigrant Visa candidates, and plenty of others who certified for P2 visas that are reserved for artists and entertainers.
U.S. officers have been in contact with nations all over the world — together with Canada, Kuwait, Mexico and Qatar — which have agreed to function transit stops or introduced an intention to grant refugee standing or resettlement for folks fleeing Afghanistan.
The United States offers greater than $970 million in growth and army support to Uganda yearly. It helps schooling and agriculture, and offers antiretroviral remedy for greater than 990,000 Ugandans who’re H.I.V.-positive.
President Yoweri Museveni — who has dominated Uganda with an iron fist since 1986 and was re-elected to a sixth time period in January after a bloody election — can also be a key U.S. army ally, deploying troops to struggle the Qaeda-linked group Al Shabab in Somalia.
Uganda now hosts practically 1.5 million refugees who’ve fled violence in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan — conflicts that, critics level out, Mr. Museveni’s authorities has meddled in.
The authorities didn’t specify how evacuees can be arriving from Afghanistan and when they’ll come. But Mr. Oryem mentioned the federal government wouldn’t rush them to depart.
“These are people who are traumatized and have gone through difficulties,” he mentioned.