IRISH people have been told to leave Afghanistan “as soon as possible” by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The warning comes as the Taliban prepare to enter the capital Kabul, the only major city not yet under their control.
Herat, Mazar-e Sharif and Kandahar, the country's second-largest city, have already been seized by the Taliban.
A DFA spokesperson said the department was “gravely concerned at the speed and scale of the Taliban’s offensive”.
Ireland has no embassy in Afghanistan, however a “small number” of Irish citizens in the country are registered with the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
The DFA has urged them to leave as soon as possible, warning there are limits to the assistance it can offer.
“If you are currently in Afghanistan, you are advised to leave as soon as possible by commercial means due to the worsening security situation,” said a spokeswoman.
'Limits to assistance'
“Irish citizens in Afghanistan should contact the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi to confirm their departure plans.
“There are limits to the assistance the Department of Foreign Affairs can provide in a crisis and you should not rely on the Department of Foreign Affairs being able to evacuate you from Afghanistan in an emergency.
“We cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to offer consular assistance should you decide to remain there.
“If you consider your presence in Afghanistan to be absolutely essential, you should have adequate and continuous professional security arrangements and ensure they are regularly reviewed, adhere to public health advice, and we would strongly advise that you make contact with the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi if you have not already done so.”
As a member of the UN Security Council, Ireland has consistently called on the Taliban to end its campaign of violence and urged it to re-engage in the Doha peace negotiations.
Ireland also warned that the future provision of support to the Afghan government is conditional on the protection and promotion of human rights.