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Colombo, Aug 22 : Sri Lanka has urged Indias assistance to evacuate nationals held up in Afghanistan after country was taken over by the Taliban.
The Foreign Ministry stated Sri Lanka was deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and was closely monitoring the development.
“Our primary concern is the safety and security of Sri Lankans living in Afghanistan and evacuating them to safety or back to Sri Lanka,” said the Foreign Ministry and requested the support of India, the US, the UK, Pakistan and the United Nations to evacuate Sri Lankans in Afghanistan.
Out of 86 Sri Lankans 46 have already been evacuated and 20 more to be removed while 20 have opted to remain in Afghanistan under Taliban.
Sri Lanka welcomed amnesty offered and promise made by Taliban not to harm any foreigners, and urged the militant group which took over the country to honour its commitment.
The Sri Lankan government also welcomed Islamic fundamentalist group’s pledge to allow women in Afghanistan to work and girls to go to school.
While expressing the concern of possibilities of mass migration, extremist religious elements attempting to find a safe haven and enhanced illegal narcotic trade which could have a destabilizing effect on the entire South Asian region, Sri Lanka, as a member of SAARC, undertook to assist any regional efforts on this.
However, the Foreign Ministry urged that as the Taliban is in power now, the law and order situation be stabilized and the safety, security and dignity of all people in Afghanistan should be safeguarded.
Sri Lanka one of the most predominant Buddhist countries in world with 70 per cent majority of the population, had strongly condemned Taliban’s blasting of the 6th century Bamiyan Buddha statues in March 2001 while the militants were in control of the country from 1996 to 2001. (IANS)
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