The Iranian Red Crescent distributes food to Afghan refugees gathered at the Iran-Afghanistan border in Sistan-Blochestan province, southeast Iran, August 16, 2021 | Photo: MOHAMMAD JAVADZADEH / Disclosure / EFE
The advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan has created a migratory crisis of international significance. The situation became particularly dire after the fundamentalist group took control of the capital, Kabul.
While some may attempt to flee by land to neighboring countries such as Uzbekistan, Iran and Pakistan, thousands of people in Kabul wait to be taken out of the country on flights organized by the United States. and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies.
It is not known how many Afghans are trying to leave the country, but most of them cannot do so through regular channels. According to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, more than 550,000 Afghans were forced to leave their homes because of the war between January and early August.
Some governments, like the UK and US, have said they will give asylum to Afghan refugees, but still limited in proportion to the scale of the crisis. Read on for pledges to help Afghans fleeing the Taliban regime below.
United States – The United States government has not specified how many Afghan refugees will be granted asylum in the United States, but President Joe Biden announced last week that he would allocate an additional $ 500 million to help the country’s refugees in crisis.
Afghans who have worked with the US government during the 20 years of war are evacuated from Afghanistan and taken to centers in Qatar, Germany, Kuwait and Spain, where they will remain pending the process of obtaining a special Afghan immigrant visa (SIV, the acronym in English). President Joe Biden said on Sunday that the government would conduct background checks on all non-Americans.
UK – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will host 20,000 Afghan refugees in the coming years. The emergency asylum program, called the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme, will prioritize women, children and religious minorities. The first 5,000 are expected to arrive in the country in 2021, in addition to the 5,000 or former UK government employees who will be issued visas.
European Union – There is no plan among the countries of the bloc to welcome Afghan refugees. Some countries, such as Germany, have expressed their intention to welcome people in danger of death in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. The subject is discussed by the leaders, but the divergent opinions of the member countries can prevent reaching an agreement, as happened during the refugee crisis in the war in Syria. Some of the options considered are funding for member countries hosting refugees and partnerships with non-EU countries.
The sensitivity of the issue for the bloc was manifested in the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said his country would protect those most in danger, but that Europe “cannot shoulder the consequences of the current situation”.
Australia – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his government is planning to provide refuge to 3,000 Afghans as part of an existing humanitarian aid program.
Canada – Like the UK, the Canadian government has promised asylum to 20,000 Afghan refugees, prioritizing women, minorities and former Afghan government officials.
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan – With the Taliban’s advance into Afghan territory throughout 2021, hundreds of Afghans migrated to the former Soviet republics bordering Afghanistan. According to the government of Uzbekistan, around 1,500 people crossed the border. Also in July, Tajikistan said it was preparing to welcome up to 100,000 Afghan refugees, Reuters reported. In July, the Tajik government said it had accepted 1,500 refugees. Several were returned to Afghanistan.