Rwanda agrees to host refugees from Afghanistan

On 24 August 2021 at 05:30

The Government of Rwanda has agreed to temporarily host refugees from Afghanistan following insecurity the country has been undergoing since the Taliban forces took power.

The revelation follows a statement released last week by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that 13 countries have agreed to temporarily host at-risk Afghans evacuated from Afghanistan and a dozen more have agreed to serve as transit points for evacuees, including Americans and others.

In evacuating Afghans who previously worked with its forces, the US has sought third countries to house refugees while their applications are processed.

Blinken said that potential Afghan refugees not already cleared for resettlement in the United States will be housed at facilities in countries including Rwanda, Albania, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Ukraine and Uganda.

Transit countries include Bahrain, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

The White House said Monday that the US has evacuated or helped to get approximately 48,000 people out of Afghanistan since Aug. 14, with about 10,900 of them airlifted out during 12 hours Monday.

These include workers of non-governmental organizations, public servants and others at risk depending on the nature of their jobs like journalists, interpreters and human rights activists among others.

According to CNBC, the tally represents an apparent acceleration in the military’s colossal efforts to relocate as many people as possible amid a Taliban takeover. In addition, coalition forces evacuated approximately 5,900 people over the weekend.

Since the end of July, the US has relocated approximately 53,000 people, the White House said. There are still several thousand Americans believed to be awaiting evacuation, according to the State Department.

The Pentagon said evacuees are flying from Kabul to temporary safe-haven locations across the Middle East and Europe, including US installations in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Afghan nationals arriving in the United States will be housed at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Lee in Virginia, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and Fort Bliss in Texas.

As desperate Afghans were trying to escape the Taliban and board planes, during chaotic scenes at Kabul airport, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, on Monday last week, called for international unity on Afghanistan, in a briefing to an emergency session of the Security Council.

“The following days will be pivotal”, said the UN chief. “The world is watching. We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan”.

After seizing large swaths of territory in recent months, the Taliban on Sunday took control of the capital, Kabul, home to some six million people.

President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country, according to media reports, and desperate residents have been scrambling to the airport to get flights out.

Afghanistan’s UN ambassador, Ghulam M. Isaczai, recently spoke of the fear that has gripped Kabul where people displaced from other provinces had flocked to the capital, viewed as the last refuge in the country.

As Isaczai said, Kabul residents reported that Taliban forces started house to house searches in some neighborhoods in Kabul, registering names and looking for people in their target list.

“There are already reports of target killings and looting in the city,” he revealed last week.

The White House has revealed that US has evacuated approximately 53,000 people since the end of July 2021.