It is now nearly a week since the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and while the Taliban have promised a nationwide “amnesty”, some Western countries fear that the Taliban’s return to power could lead to some humanitarian crises, so many countries are organizing flights to evacuate Afghans working for their troops and agencies.
The Taliban’s rise to power has also triggered a flood of Afghans trying to flee the country, while some countries have offered them asylum, while others have called for tighter border controls, Al Jazeera reported Tuesday.
Pakistan, Turkey, Iran: Segregation of refugees in temporary accommodation near the border
Currently, three provinces in Iran bordering Afghanistan are working to establish temporary shelters for Afghan refugees who may be in the influx. Still, Hossein Ghassemi, head of border affairs at Iran’s interior ministry, said that for any Afghan who crosses into Iran, “once things improve, they will be repatriated.”
In June, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, said his country would close its border with Afghanistan if the Taliban took control. Although border checkpoints still appear to be open to Afghans, the Pakistani government told Time that it was preparing a “comprehensive strategy” to isolate refugees in makeshift camps near the border to prevent large numbers of refugees from furthering into Pakistan’s core hinterland.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country has stepped up construction of a wall along its border with Iran in recent days and will work with Pakistan to help stabilize Afghanistan and prevent refugees from fleeing again.
UK, Canada: Plans to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees each
Britain plans to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees in the next few years, giving priority to women, girls, religious groups and other minorities, Britain announced Wednesday.
Canada said last week it would resettle more than 20,000 vulnerable Afghans, “including female leaders, human rights advocates, journalists, members of persecuted religious groups, and the families of translators already settled in Canada.” ”
In addition, both the United Kingdom and Canada have indicated that they will provide shelter to British officials and interpreters and other staff working in Afghanistan, including embassy staff and their families.
Australia, Switzerland, Austria: Reject large numbers of refugees
Australia said Wednesday that there are no plans to allow tens of thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban to enter the country for security reasons. Prime Minister Morrison said Australia would provide Afghans with at least 3000 visas within a year, but had “no plans to take in 20,000 refugees.”
Switzerland said on the 18th that it will not accept large numbers of Afghan refugees, but will review asylum applications on a case-by-case basis. The Swiss government said humanitarian visas would be considered for those facing “direct, specific and serious threats” and that applicants must also have close ties to Switzerland.
Austria expressed its support for on-site assistance and deportation centres in neighbouring areas of Afghanistan in response to a possible influx of refugees, interior minister Karl Nehamer said on the 18th. “Our goal must be to keep the majority of people in the region ( Afghanistan). ” He stressed Austria’s refusal to take on further “burdens” and explained that Austria was already home to the EU’s second largest Afghan community, with 44,000 Afghans.
U.S.: “Outsourcing” refugees to other countries
The U.S. has been accepting Afghan refugees for 20 years, but has seen a significant drop in receipts in recent years. As of July 31, 2021, the United States had received only 494 Afghan refugees in fiscal year 2021 and 604 in 2020. By contrast, the United States took in more than 2,700 Afghan refugees in 2016, the last full fiscal year of former President Barack Obama’s administration.
In early August, the United States expanded the criteria for accepting Afghan refugees, including current and former employees of U.S.-funded U.S. media agencies, aid and development agencies and other relief organizations. However, the speedy processing of visa and refugee applications by the United States remains a question.
In addition, the time for evacuation is passing. Before the Taliban attack, U.S. officials said 15,000 Afghans had moved to the U.S. under the Special Immigrant Visa Program, and about 18,000 applications were pending. The evacuations will continue, with three U.S. military bases poised to accommodate up to 22,000 evacuees.
At the same time, the United States has “outsourced” some resettlement to other countries. 17, Uganda said it had agreed to a U.S. request to accept 2,000 Afghan refugees for three months before they would be resettled elsewhere;