300 unaccompanied Afghan children evacuated from Kabul, efforts on for reunion with families: Unicef
- Some of the children who left Afghanistan have been evacuated on flights to the United States, Germany, Qatar and other countries.
Around 300 unaccompanied Afghan children have been evacuated from Kabul since the Taliban took over on August 15, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said on Tuesday, adding that many more have been separated from their parents in the chaos that unfolded after Taliban laid siege to Kabul.
"We expect this number to rise through ongoing identification efforts," Unicef chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement to the media.
Unicef along with its partner agencies have been involved in registering the evacuees who have been airlifted out of Kabul since August 14. Some of the children who left Afghanistan have been evacuated on flights to the United States, Germany, Qatar and other countries, the UN agency told reporters.
Reuters reported on August 27 that 34 at least Afghan children have been placed in the US government’s custody after being evacuated unaccompanied from Kabul. Of the 34 children evacuated some 10 were later placed with close family members residing in the US while the rest were being housed in government shelters. A government official told Reuters that those who have been placed in shelters either do not have any close relatives in the US or their parents are deceased. "If their parents aren't here now but will be, we need a place for them to go in the interim and then they will be united when their parents get here," the official said.
The Afghan all-girls robotics team consisting of children in the age group of 15-19, which was once heralded as a shining example of women’s advancement in the country, was also evacuated after the Taliban took over. Some members of the team landed in Qatar while others went to Mexico.
Unicef is now trying to track and reunite these unaccompanied children with their families, and so far they have successfully returned 100 children back to their families. "They have gone to a range of countries and we are working with those governments where children have arrived without family support," spokesperson James Elder told a UN briefing in Geneva.