GENEVA (Dispatches) – As
evacuations from Kabul wind down in coming days, “a larger crisis is just beginning” in Afghanistan and for its 39 million people, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Monday, appealing for support.
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose agency said last Friday that up to 500,000 Afghans could flee by year-end, reiterated a call for borders to remain open and for more countries to share “this humanitarian responsibility” with Iran and Pakistan which already host 2.2 million Afghans.
“The airlifts out of Kabul will end in a matter of days, and the tragedy that has unfolded will no longer be as visible. But it will still be a daily reality for millions of Afghans. We must not turn away. A far greater humanitarian crisis is just beginning,” Grandi said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Turkey said it cannot take the burden of a new migrant wave from Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the remark after talks with his German counterpart, as concerns about a new migrant wave remain after the Taliban’s takeover.
“As Turkey, we have sufficiently carried out our moral and humanitarian responsibilities regarding migration,” Cavusoglu said, speaking in a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday.
“It is out of the question for us to take an additional refugee burden,” Cavusoglu said.
The events in Afghanistan have fuelled worries in the European Union of a repeat of the 2015 refugee crisis, wherein nearly a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond crossed to Greece from Turkey before travelling north to wealthier states.
Cavusoglu said Europe, as well as regional countries, would also be affected if migration from Afghanistan turns into a crisis and that lessons should be learned from the Syrian refugee crisis.