Following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan, an urgent scramble to flee the nation has seen hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians seek refuge across Europe and neighboring nations. As the frenzied situation in the war-torn country has seen Afghan civilians desperately attempt to escape, calls to accept the asylum seekers have been sounded across the globe. With the situation in Afghanistan swiftly deteriorating, drastic action is needed to prevent a new migrant crisis.
The number of asylum seekers is expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks, fuelling angst over pressing issues such as housing, visas, and safety vetting. Numerous countries have already agreed to admit large numbers of Afghan refugees, including several European states that will provide temporary refuge as the United States has been urgently enlisting nations to protect those with ties to the American government and coalition forces.
Canada has said it will welcome up to 20,000 people, whilst Uganda, already a sanctuary for 1.4 million refugees, has also agreed to a request from the United States to temporarily take in 2,000 Afghan asylum seekers.
As the world is following events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart, I urge all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees & refrain from deportations.
Afghans have known generations of war & hardship. They deserve our full support.
Now is the time for solidarity.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 16, 2021
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has recently outlined a plan to take 20,000 Afghan refugees in a five-year resettlement plan that will prioritise women, children, and religious minorities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed a “debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years”, adding that he was “proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK.”
Related Articles: Kabul May Be Today’s Saigon, but It’s Not All Biden’s Burden | Taliban Ascendency Intensifies: “It’s Their Struggle” Says Pentagon
The UK’s evacuation scheme has been compared to its Syrian refugee plan that began in 2014, one which has also seen 20,000 people resettled, although there are criticisms that it does not go far enough. The scheme would see the UK receive just 5,000 Afghan asylum seekers by the end of the year, a comparatively small amount considering the high levels of net migration the UK already accepts annually and the active role that the United Kingdom has played in Afghanistan over the past two decades.
UK net migration is 300k but we’re only welcoming 20k Afghan refugees over “the coming years”.
A dereliction of our moral duty
— Sam Bright (@WritesBright) August 17, 2021
Turkey has also shown a harsh reluctance to welcome the influx of Afghan refugees, as Turkish President Recep Erdogan has recently stepped up efforts to construct a wall along its Iranian border to halt migration.
Some of the first European nations to offer shelter to Afghan refugees have been Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia, all of which agreed to provide temporary housing to those that will be bound for the United States.
Kosovo’s President, Vjosa Osmani, said that she agreed to allow the country to serve as a transit nation to those waiting to travel to the US after she was contacted by US President Joe Biden last month. Osmani confirmed that Kosovo has the capacity to receive up to 10,000 refugees as they await VISA approval to emigrate to America.
In a Facebook post confirming Kosovo’s agreement to welcome the refugees, Osmani stated that “without any hesitation or single conditioning, I have given my consent to such humanitarian operation,” adding that “nobody better than us knows what it means to be expelled and to leave by force from where you grew up, to separate from your loved ones, to be forced to flee to save your life.”
This sentiment was echoed by Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, who confirmed on Facebook that Albania will cooperate with the United States in its evacuation plan. Asserting that the nation could welcome Afghan refugees as early as this week, Rama stated that “the U.S. government has asked Albania to assess whether it can serve as a transit country, for a certain number of Afghan political immigrants, who have the end destination in the United States. And indisputably that we won’t say no, and not just why our great allies ask us, but because we are Albania!”
Among the prominent calls for nations to welcome Afghan refugees is Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 following her campaign for female education. In a tweet, the activist has said that the situation in Afghanistan has her “deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates,” adding that the “global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians.”
“This is a call to humanity.” @Malala knows the brutal nature of the Taliban and urges solidarity: “We stand with the women & girls of Afghanistan.” She argues for an urgent resettlement program by the US and allies & for neighboring countries to open borders to Afghan refugees. pic.twitter.com/mwR279MIfm
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) August 17, 2021
As fears over the next steps of the Taliban’s ascent to power grip Afghanistan, providing shelter for those fleeing the nation is a responsibility that must be shared among key nations and those that have played a role in the deterioration of the war-ravaged country. The UK Foreign Office has admitted that the failure to predict the rapid fall of Afghanistan was a “massive failure of the international community”, one which many fear could see the Taliban retaliate against those that worked with coalition forces and re-impose the harsh interpretation of Islamic law from their previous reign of power from 1996 to 2001.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: A Migrant Camp in Kabul, Afghanistan. Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.