Chaos has erupted in the capital as thousands of locals and foreigners rush to flee the country before foreign troops exit next week.
But severe overcrowding at Kabul’s airport has made leaving difficult, and the situation has escalated into deadly violence with twin explosions rocking the area.
The United States said it will step up evacuations ahead of its August 31 troop withdrawal deadline. President Joe Biden said the US is on track to meet that date, despite pressure from countries including the UK and Germany that troops stay longer. The Taliban had warned of “consequences” over such a move.
Meanwhile, questions abound about where to place the thousands of Afghans who are leaving the country – many of whom fear reprisals for assisting foreign forces during the 20-year war.
The US and a dozen other nations have pledged to temporarily take in Afghan allies. But European states including Germany, Greece and France are actively discouraging refugees from relocating to their countries. Turkey, which is already home to several million displaced Syrians, has also expressed concerns about taking in more people.
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Within Afghanistan itself, there are hundreds of thousands of internally displaced citizens. Decades of war, recent violence and the threat of COVID-19 have created a “humanitarian emergency” inside the country, the United Nations recently said.
It is urging the international community to accept Afghan asylum requests as its staff and other rights groups struggle to assist locals on the ground with food, shelter and protection from violence.
In this episode of The Stream we discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan and track the fate of Afghan refugees. Join the conversation.
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