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Graphic shows concerns of Afghanistan’s neighbours.
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POLITICS

Refugees not welcome by Afghanistan’s neighbours

By Duncan Mil

September 14, 2021 - Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours are concerned that instability could spread throughout the region, with around 3.5 million Afghans internally displaced and 2.2 million refugees seeking sanctuary.

Among Afghanistan’s wary neighbours, Pakistan is in a dilemma over accepting more Afghan refugees. Despite hosting nearly 1.5 million Afghans in 2020, Islamabad has not offered an official welcome.

Iran is almost as cautious as Pakistan of new refugees. Last year, Iran hosted 780,000 Afghan refugees. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi plans to work on an “Iranian model” in dealing with Afghan refugees. Tehran’s strategy is to provide temporary refuge to Afghans in camps in three provinces -- Razavi Khorasan, South Khorasan and Sistan-Baluchestan -- along Iran’s eastern border with Afghanistan.

Turkmenistan has allowed its airspace for evacuation flights but has not committed to refugees, while Tajikistan has offered to accept up to 100,000 Afghan refugees.

In early September, Tajikistan’s President posthumously honoured legendary commander Ahmed Shah Massoud and former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani -- both devout enemies of the Taliban -- with the country’s highest civilian award, in a snub to the Kabul regime.

China has made no conspicuous offers of help to refugees, while India already has 15,000-18,000 refugees that fled from the Taliban more than ten years ago. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees new terror threats ahead. In 2008, Afghan-Taliban-linked Lashkar-e-Taiba mounted coordinated shooting and bombing attacks in Mumbai, killing at least 174 people and wounding more than 300 others.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 14/09/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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