The deployment of the elite Army Ranger Wing to Afghanistan will speed up the evacuation of Irish citizens, according to a retired brigadier general.
Nine members of the Irish special forces wing are en-route to Afghanistan alongside two Department of Foreign Affairs officials.
The special forces will be stationed at Kabul Airport and will liaise with other forces to get the people out.
Ten Irish citizens have already been evacuated from Afghanistan and the Department of Foreign Affairs is currently liaising with 36 further citizens and family members who are seeking to leave.
Retired Brigadier General Ger Ahern told Newstalk that the special forces deployment will speed up the evacuation process.
“There is a brotherhood between military personnel all over the world and that brotherhood will come into its own at Kabul airport with our army ranger wing personnel,” he said.
“In particular, dealing with the US and UK forces, there is a particularly strong bond between special forces operators internationally of which the army ranger wing is a noted and respected member of.”
He said there is no substitute for boots on the ground in this type of mission.
“It cannot but help the timely and more speedy evacuation of our citizens on the ground,” he said.
“You can’t beat local-level liaison and have local-level eyes and ears and access to immediate, timely and accurate intelligence of what is happening on the ground – rather than long-distancing this from 2,000 miles away in Abu Dhabi.”
Meanwhile, G7 leaders will meet virtually later in a bid to reach agreement on evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden had set a deadline of August 31st for the withdrawal of US troops.
However, the UK is urging him to delay the move so more people can be evacuated.
More than 30,000 have been evacuated from the country so far.
In Ireland, a group of less than 10 Afghan refugees arrived into Dublin last night.
They are among the first of the 200 the government has agreed to accept under the International Refugee Protection Programme.
Nick Henderson from the Irish Refugee Council said it was a momentous occasion.
“They were people who were working in Afghanistan possibly with EU institutions or certainly associated with western institutions or working with NGOs or human rights activists,” he said.
“They have left Afghanistan probably in the last couple of days and they are here beginning their new life in Ireland.”
The new arrivals will be accommodated in emergency reception and orientation centres before moving on into the community.