FAQ: Which Countries Are Opening Doors to Afghan Refugees? And Which Aren't?
Thousands of Afghans are fleeing to take shelter as refugees in other countries, following the Taliban takeover.
Thousands of Afghans are desperately trying to flee and take shelter as refugees in other countries, following the Taliban's hostile takeover of their homeland.
While countries like Russia and Austria are not willing to accept any refugees, others including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and India have come forward to offer shelter to Afghan refugees in their countries.
Which countries are opening doors to Afghan refugees? What are the rules? Here's everything we know.
The United States
The US had officially said that it was willing to take in over 10,000 Afghan refugees. This will majorly include Afghans who have helped or worked with the US government previously. However, a New York Times report said that the military has helped to evacuate 37,000 Afghan people since 14 August.
Priority 2 (P-2) designation was announced by the US Department of State on 2 August, which allows US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) access to certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members.
The US Department in a statement said: "The US objective remains a peaceful, secure Afghanistan. However, in light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the US government is working to provide certain Afghans, including those who worked with the United States, the opportunity for refugee resettlement to the United States."
The United Kingdom
The UK on 18 August announced that it would take up to 20,000 Afghan nationals as refugees.
In the first year of the resettlement plan, the government will resettle 5,000 Afghans at risk of the current crisis. The government has also said that it will prioritise women, girls, children and religious minorities.
The Home Office in a statement said: "This resettlement scheme will be kept under further review for future years, with up to a total of 20,000 in the long term."
"Those who have been forced to flee their home or face threats of persecution from the Taliban will be offered a route to set up home in the UK permanently," the official statement read.
Canada promised to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees who had fled the country. According to CTV News, the thousands of refugees have already entered Canada, and the first 40 families have completed quarantine, as on 24 August.
The country's Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino on Friday, 20 August, said that his country will consider accepting more Afghan refugees on the behalf of the US and other allies, if requested.
Canada is one of the nations that is evacuating the Afghan nationals that have worked or helped these western countries in the last 20 years, reported Deccan Herald.
Germany too is one of the western countries that is allowing Afghan refugees in their country after the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her country could grant asylum to 10,000 Afghans. As of 20 August, 1,600 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan, including German citizens.
"These are people who worked for the German forces or German aid agencies. The number eligible seems to be limited," Holger Schmieding, Chief Euro Zone Economist, told media.
India announced that in view of the current situation after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, it will issue emergency visas to Afghan nationals who wish to come to the country.
India has also introduced 'e-Emergency X-Misc Visa' online and all Afghans, regardless of their religion, can apply for it. The validity of the visa will be up to six months, as of now.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had relocated 3.2 million Afghans since 2002. Data from April 2021 shows that more than 1.4 million Afghan refugees remained in Pakistan since.
Afghans are, as of now, allowed to cross the borders and enter Pakistan but the country has indicated that it would seal its border with Afghanistan.
Other Countries Offering Asylum to Afghan Refugees
Iran: According to the UN, Iran already has over one million Afghans who hold refugee cards. This number is set to increase with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on 15 August. The global body has urged Iranian authorities to keep the Milak border open, in light of the crisis in Afghanistan.
Uganda: Uganda is willing to temporarily take in 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan, at the request of the US, the country has said.
Countries Refusing To Take Afghan Refugees
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that his country is willing to help and protect those in danger but at the same time Europe needs to protect itself from illegal migrants.
"Dealing with those fleeing the Taliban would need an organised and fair international effort. Europe alone cannot assume the consequences of the current situation," Macron said in a televised addressed, reported The Guardian.
The Austrian government will not accept asylum seekers who have fled the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan. However, they will instead focus on helping them locally.
According to an interview published by Radio Puls 24, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, "I am obviously opposed to accepting more people voluntarily. Under my supervision, this will not happen."
Even before the Taliban forcibly took over Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans were walking towards Turkey, covering 1,400 miles between Iran and the Turkish border.
There are 1,82,000 registered Afghan migrants in Turkey and up to an estimated 1,20,000 unregistered ones, reported The Guardian. This number is said to increase further.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said that his country had no intention of becoming “Europe’s migrant storage unit”, and urged European nations to take responsibility for the refugees.
However, all the refugees heading towards Turkey will face a three-metre high wall, ditches, or barbed wire with the government trying to block the entry of refugees.
Started in 2017, the government will add another 64 km to a border wall by the end of 2021.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times, The Guardian, The New York Times and Deccan Herald.)
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