South Korea takes in 390 Afghan staff on 'special merit'

Seoul, Aug. 25, (dpa/GNA) - South Korea plans to take in about 390 people from Afghanistan as part of its evacuation operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

According to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, they are local personnel who worked at the South Korean Embassy in Kabul or in facilities, including hospitals, built by South Korea in Afghanistan before the Taliban took power.

The Afghans are expected to arrive in South Korea on Thursday along with their families, vice foreign minister Choi Jong Moon said Wednesday.

They had asked to come to South Korea because of the insecurity in Afghanistan, he said.

South Korea dispatched three military planes on Monday to collect the Afghans from Kabul airport.

They will not be treated as refugees but as "persons of special merit,"

according to Choi, and are to be housed temporarily at a government institute in Jincheon in the central part of the country.

South Korea has temporarily closed its embassy in Afghanistan and moved diplomatic staff to Qatar.