Swiss offer visas to Afghan development agency staff

GENEVA: Switzerland said Friday it would repatriate three foreign ministry staff from Afghanistan and offer humanitarian visas to Afghan development agency workers and their families as the Taliban sweeps the country.
Switzerland has no embassy in Afghanistan, with diplomatic relations covered by the mission in neighbouring Pakistan.
However, the foreign ministry’s international development arm, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), is present in Kabul.
Swiss ministers told a press conference that Bern would repatriate three Swiss SDC employees, the other three already being outside the country due to the worsening security situation.
Around 40 local workers with SDC, and their families, were being offered a humanitarian visa to come to Switzerland, taking the number to around 200 people in total.
“We are very concerned about the development of the situation in Afghanistan,” Swiss junior foreign minister Livia Leu said.
She called for “an urgent dialogue on a political solution” and urged all parties to “respect international humanitarian law and human rights law”.
Meanwhile the State Secretariat for Migration is suspending returns to Afghanistan until further notice.

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