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20 Aug, 2021 12:01

UN Refugee Agency warns Afghanistan crisis ‘cannot be forgotten’ as people at risk ‘have no clear way out’

UN Refugee Agency warns Afghanistan crisis ‘cannot be forgotten’ as people at risk ‘have no clear way out’

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has issued another warning on Afghanistan’s worsening humanitarian crisis, imploring that people’s needs “cannot be forgotten,” as those in danger “have no clear way out.”

In a Geneva news briefing on Friday, UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo reiterated the agency’s concern for the Afghan people in wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country, saying their needs “cannot be forgotten.”

“The vast majority of Afghans are not able to leave the country through regular channels. The footage taken a few days ago of crowds at the airport has shocked the world, speaking powerfully to the sense of fear and uncertainty among many Afghans,” Mantoo said.

The spokesperson added that “those who may be in danger have no clear way out” in fleeing Taliban persecution.

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Mantoo called on Afghanistan’s neighboring nations to keep their borders open to allow passage for those seeking refuge, as well as imploring states both within and outside of the Middle East to “preserve the right to asylum for Afghans arriving through regular or spontaneous means.”

A string of nations in Europe, however, have expressed hesitancy in accepting a surge of Afghan refugees. The Swiss government dismissed the prospect of taking large groups of asylum seekers on Wednesday. On the same day, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said “there is no reason why Afghans should come” to the country.

Also on rt.com ‘No reason why Afghans should come here’: Austrian minister rebuffs calls to take more refugees after Kabul takeover by Taliban

Iran, which shares a 900km (550-mile) border with war-torn Afghanistan, set up refugee camps last Sunday on the same day that the capital city, Kabul fell to the Taliban. However, an Iranian Interior Ministry official, Hossein Qasemi, said these facilities are not permanent, and that all Afghan asylum seekers should return home when the country is more stable.

The UN agency issued a statement last week which warned that “an inability to seek safety may risk innumerable civilian lives.” A senior official for the EU estimated that 40,000 Afghans have been internally displaced as a result of the turbulence in the country.

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