NATO member states have evacuated at least 12,000 people from Afghanistan in the past week following the Taliban’s* capture of Kabul on 15 August. But thousands more, including translators who assisted the US mission in the country, are anxious to get out.
With vivid memories of the 2015 humanitarian disaster, the world is cautiously waiting to see whether the Taliban’s power grab in Afghanistan will result in a new refugee crisis and whether the EU will be the one to take the hit again.
In Austria, a country that already hosts 40,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pledged not to take any more Afghan newcomers while he is in office. Germany, which is home to the biggest number of Syrian and Afghan refugees in comparison to any other Western nation, said it would only accommodate some 10,000 at-risk people from Afghanistan. Others have to be sheltered in neighbouring states, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Greece has particularly designated Turkey – home to some 3.6 million Syrians and hundreds of thousands of Afghans – as a “safe” spot for the mission. Unsurprisingly, these talks have left President Recep Tayyip Erdogan quite frustrated.
“It is quite obvious that the push factors relating to human rights violations and imposition of Islamic law will increase the number of people who want to flee”, explains Metin Corbatir, head of the Ankara-based Research Centre on Asylum and Migration. “My personal belief is that eventually [a] few…