- Title: EU's Borrell brands Afghanistan events 'a catastrophe' and 'a nightmare'
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (FILE - FEBRUARY 19, 2019) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EU PARLIAMENT
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 10:13
- Keywords: Afghan Afghanistan Borrell EU European Union Kabul Taliban U.S. airlift airport catastrophe evacuation family foreign policy chief nightmare staff troop
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM / UNKNOWN LOCATION
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM / UNKNOWN LOCATION
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: European Union,Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002EQY31HJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: VIDEO QUALITY AS INCOMING
The European Union's foreign policy chief branded developments in Afghanistan "a catastrophe" on Thursday (August 19) and said the evacuation of EU workers was in progress.
Addressing two committees of the European Parliament, Joseph Boreal said about 100 EU staff and 400 Afghans working with the EU and their families had been evacuated, but that 300 more Afghans were still trying to leave.
He stressed Europe's "moral duty" to rescue as many Afghans as possible who had worked for the EU in Afghanistan, but said it would not be possible to get them all out.
Western countries have been scrambling to airlift their citizens, Afghan staff, and their families out since the Taliban took control of the capital Kabul on Sunday. Thousands of people have desperately tried to get past Taliban roadblocks and U.S. troops to reach Kabul airport.
In his speech, Borrell addressed concerns that a fresh wave of Afghan migrants might reach Europe, in a replay of the 2015 migrant crisis, when large numbers of people trekked across the continent, many fleeing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
"Don't call them migrants, they are exiled people, people who are fleeing to save their lives", Borrell said, rejecting comparisons with Syria as Afghanistan is much further away.
NATO wrapped up military operations in Afghanistan this summer after almost two decades following a U.S. decision to withdraw.
(Production: Clement Rossignol)
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