The Government of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and is closely monitoring developments. Our primary concern is the safety and security of Sri Lankans living in Afghanistan and evacuating them to safety or back to Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested the governments of USA, UK, India, Pakistan and the United Nations to assist in evacuating the Sri Lankans in Afghanistan, should they desire to do so. Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has during meetings with relevant envoys requested their assistance to the Sri Lankans in Afghanistan. The Government of Sri Lanka is ready to provide whatever facilities needed for this purpose. Of the total number of Sri Lankans in Afghanistan numbering eighty six (86), so far forty six (46) have already been evacuated. As of today, twenty (20) Sri Lankans are expecting to return from Afghanistan and Foreign Ministry is making arrangements for their evacuation. Meanwhile, twenty (20) other Sri Lankans have expressed their willingness to stay back in Afghanistan.
The Government of Sri Lanka is happy to note that the Taliban has offered an amnesty and promised not to harm any foreigners and requests the Taliban to continue honouring that commitment. The Government of Sri Lanka is also happy to see the pledges given by the Taliban that the women in Afghanistan can work and girls can go to school, following the Islamic tradition.
The Government of Sri Lanka also takes note in the pronouncement made by the Taliban that an All Party Mechanism will be established to take the country forward.
Now that the Taliban is in power, the Government of Sri Lanka requests that the law and order situation be stabilized and the safety, security and dignity of all people in Afghanistan be safeguarded.
The Government of Sri Lanka remains concerned of the possibilities of mass migration, extremist religious elements attempting to find a safe haven and enhanced illegal narcotic trade which can have a destabilizing effect on the entire South Asian region. The Government is keenly observing the situation on a daily basis.
As a member of SAARC, Sri Lanka is prepared to play its role to assist any regional efforts in this regard.
21 August, 2021