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Fears mounting Irish-based Afghan girl (16) missing after visiting relatives at start of summer

The revelation came as Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Irish diplomats work round-the-clock to get Irish citizens and residents safely out of Afghanistan

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Department officials admitted there is “deep concern” for those still within Afghanistan, particularly in light of the imminent US withdrawal. Pictured, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney

Department officials admitted there is “deep concern” for those still within Afghanistan, particularly in light of the imminent US withdrawal. Pictured, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney

Department officials admitted there is “deep concern” for those still within Afghanistan, particularly in light of the imminent US withdrawal. Pictured, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney

Fears are mounting over the safety of an Afghan teenager living in Ireland, who is now unaccounted for after going to her home country to visit relatives at the start of the summer.

The revelation came as Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Irish diplomats work round-the-clock to get Irish citizens and residents safely out of Afghanistan.

Over the past 36 hours, an Irish-resident mother and child managed to get safely out of Kabul on a Swedish-organised flight while a large family group are making a marathon land journey in an bid to fly home from Pakistan.

Another Irish-resident Afghan national is attempting to return home via Tajikistan.

Around 50 Irish citizens and their families are still trying to get out of Afghanistan, though Ireland has managed to get more than 60 out of the country over the past week.

Ireland deployed members of the Army Ranger Wing to Kabul airport last week in an evacuation mission assisted by the US, Danish and Finnish authorities.

The 16-year-old girl, who is attending a secondary school in Munster, went to visit her extended family at the start of the summer.


The visit was organised because a family member in Afghanistan was dying.

It is believed she was due to fly back to Ireland in September. However, she is understood to have been caught up in the chaos surrounding the Taliban’s lightning overrun of Afghanistan following the US troop withdrawal.

Her school has not heard anything about her whereabouts or safety over the past fortnight, despite the fact she is due back next week to prepare for her Leaving Cert.

Officials are now deeply concerned for her welfare and are trying to establish her precise whereabouts.

Fears for her safety have mounted given the total lack of information and the dangers now facing young girls in Afghanistan.

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It is understood one member of the teen’s immediate family was murdered by the Taliban several years ago.

Irish officials remain in close contact with those still stranded and have promised their support for Irish citizens and residents in Afghanistan will be “unstinting”.

Western governments are racing to get as many of their nationals and residents out of Afghanistan as possible before the US withdraws its military from Kabul Airport.

US President Joe Biden has steadfastly refused to extend the deadline for the withdrawal of US troops to facilitate the evacuation process.

Irish repatriation efforts are being led by Mr Coveney and Department of Foreign Affairs teams in Abu Dhabi and Dublin.

The Government and the families of those evacuated from Kabul airport are relieved at the success in getting 36 people back safely.

A further dozen are currently en route out of Afghanistan.
Since the deployment of the Emergency Consular Assistance Team (ECAT) last week, 26 Irish citizens and residents were successfully evacuated last Thursday, following the horrific bomb blast outside Kabul airport in which at least 175 civilians and 13 US soldiers were killed.

Ten people had been evacuated before ECAT’s deployment. A further dozen have either left or will shortly leave Afghanistan.

Department officials admitted there was “deep concern” for those still within Afghanistan, particularly in light of the imminent US withdrawal.

“The department will continue its focus on providing consular assistance and support for citizens and dependants who require it in the time ahead,” a spokesperson said.

“The precise number of Irish citizens and their immediate family members requiring ongoing Irish consular assistance in Afghanistan is fluid.

“We are aware of approximately 60 citizens and family members requiring this support, in addition to a number of Afghan citizens with Irish residency.”

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