- Title: 'We did our best': NATO representative on Kabul evacuation
- Date: 28th August 2021
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (AUGUST 28, 2021) (REUTERS) TERMINAL 5 SIGN AT FIUMICINO AIRPORT IN ROME ITALIAN GUARDIA DI FINANZA POLICE STANDING OUTSIDE AIRPORT PASSENGERS OF LAST FLIGHT DEPARTED FROM KABUL EXITING TERMINAL (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, LUIGI DI MAIO, SAYING: "Thanks everyone for being here. This morning the last flight from Afghanistan arrived not long ago with Afghans on board, with Afghan citizens that Italy evacuated from Afghanistan, from Kabul airport together with the Tuscania's Carabinieri, who I want to thank because without of them we could not have guaranteed the presence of our consul who was on board, Tommaso Claudi, and of the ambassador Pontecorvo, civil representative of the NATO in Afghanistan. I want to thank all those who have worked in these days to the evacuation of almost 5000 Afghans. We are the first country in the European Union in number of Afghan citizens evacuated and for this I also want to thank our intelligence and all the women and men of the defence ministry for the great service they have rendered to the country in these days." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ITALIAN DIPLOMAT, STEFANO PONTECORVO, SAYING: "We have a clean conscience, for myself and my team, but I'm satisfied. Clean conscience because with what we had we did our best under the circumstances and I think we crossed the line between possible and impossible to get in everybody we could, to keep the airport running, to co-ordinate whatever was 'coordinatable' in that situation. I'm satisfied because we have left a few behind which we are not abandoning but which we will strive our best to take back home." VARIOUS OF PASSENGERS OF LAST FLIGHT DEPARTED FROM KABUL EXITING TERMINAL MILITARY BUS LEAVING AIRPORT TERMINAL
- Embargoed: 11th September 2021 12:49
- Keywords: Afghanistan conflict Italy Rome evacuation plane
- Location: ROME AND AVEZZANO, ITALY
- City: ROME AND AVEZZANO, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe
- Reuters ID: LVA005ES71JK7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Staff involved in efforts to evacuate as many people from Kabul as possible did its best under the difficult circumstances it had to face, NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan said on Saturday (August 28) after landing in Rome.
"We have a clean conscience... because with what we had, we did our best under the circumstances," Italian diplomat Stefano Pontecorvo told reporters upon his arrival.
Pontecorvo, who departed from Afghanistan on Friday (August 27) when the last Italian flights left, said those involved in the evacuation "crossed the line between possible and impossible to get out of the country everybody they could."
"I'm satisfied because we have left a few behind which we are not abandoning but we will strive our best to take back home," he told reporters.
Italy's military has airlifted over 4,800 Afghans out of the country, including 1,453 children, the defence ministry has said, as part of an international evacuation effort after the Taliban unexpectedly seized control of the capital earlier this month.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio praised Italian diplomats and military officials for their contribution to the evacuations of civilians.
"We have evacuated more Afghan nationals than any other European Union country," he said.
The Italian Red Cross has started welcoming the first Afghans inside the Avezzano camp on Friday, where it expects to host about 2000 people after the mandatory quarantine period.
(Production: Jaime Lopez Lopez, Oriana Boselli)
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