Since the Taliban’s takeover of power in Afghanistan, European countries have witnessed a new influx of Afghan refugees.
Numbers of Afghan refugees in Europe have been more than doubled over the past week.
Fears of New Refugee Crisis
But this has sparked fear of a new refugee crisis similar to 2015 Syrian refugee plight.
Europe “should not wait until people stand at our external border”, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said.
“It must be our goal to keep the majority of the people in the region,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said last week, echoing what many European leaders say.
Thus Austria suggested setting up “deportation centres” in countries neighbouring Afghanistan.
This will help EU countries tp deport Afghans who have been denied asylum, even if they cannot be sent back to their homeland.
Several German politicians, including Armin Laschet, the centre-right Union bloc’s candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, has warned there must be “no repeat” of the migration crisis of 2015.
French President Emmanuel Macron also stressed “Europe alone cannot shoulder the consequences” of the situation in Afghanistan. He called on European counterparts to “anticipate and protect ourselves against significant irregular migratory flows”.
However, Britain said it would welcome 5,000 Afghan refugees this year and resettle 20,000 Afghans in coming years.
UNHCR says that at least 120,000 Afghans have fled rural areas to Kabul province since the beginning of the year.
But, the vast majority of them remain trapped within the country’s borders.
“We are not currently seeing a large exodus of refugees from Afghanistan,” a spokesman told The Guardian.
Migration experts warned that recent memories of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015, and the perception that Europe failed to achieve it, are preventing European states from crafting a proactive rescue plan.
“There is a widely shared misconception right now that desperate people cannot leave the country.”
“In 2021, states are controlling their borders with force and brutality in the way they were not in 2015.”
Turkey is reinforcing its border with Iran. Meanwhile, Pakistan is about to complete a fence along the border with Afghanistan.