On 2 August Washington announced the expansion of its resettlement programme for Afghans who aided US troops in the country amid the growing Taliban threat.
Despite the reluctance of Pakistan’s government, the United States has told Islamabad to keep its “borders open” so that Afghan refugees can enter the country.
According to experts, the move is likely to strain already tense relations between the two nations.
Pakistani newspaper The Dawn reported that a senior US State Department official, while briefing journalists on the new US refugee admission programme for Afghan nationals, said, “In a place like Pakistan, it’ll be important that their borders remain open.”
“Obviously, if people go north or if they go via Iran to Turkey, they have an opportunity both to enter the country as well as register with either the government or with UNHCR,” the official was quoted as saying.
The US widened eligibility for priority refugee admission for thousands more Afghans who worked with US forces but are not eligible for special immigrant visas (SIV).
The move was rejected by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday after Ankara blamed Washington for floating the plan without “prior consultations,” and argued that it could lead to a “major refugee crisis” in the region.
Turkey has suggested that the “US may directly transport these people by plane.”
For its part, Pakistan says it cannot accommodate more Afghan refugees.
Dr. Moeed W. Yusuf, Pakistan’s national security…