Why are European leaders hesitating to take in more Afghan refugees?


A few days ago, the world saw heartbreaking scenes as desperate Afghans clung to planes that were taking off from Kabul airport to the U.S., as Taliban forces captured the entire country much faster that was gleaned by U.S. intelligence agencies. Now, as the crisis deepens, Europe who had helped in the invasion of Afghanistan by the U.S., is saying that it is unwilling to take in Afghan refugees except those who have helped countries in Europe.


Although the Afghans have panicked as the Taliban has made a clean sweep across the country, the European Union is also in a state of panic as leaders say that they cannot cope with an influx of political refugees.


Political exigences have also influenced the decision to minimize the number of refugees that will be allowed in both Germany and France as both the countries will be facing the electorate soon. They  have far right opponents who have already started using refugee influx as a political platform to gain access to a populist, conservative and emotional issue that could influence votes.


Many of these governments have said that they are willing to welcome Afghans who have worked with American forces or with European allies or with international aid organizations. However, the way by which these Afghans will gain entry to the host countries is still unclear.


The main worry of European countries, the U.S., Canada and other countries is that several hundreds of  thousands of ordinary Afghans will scramble to leave the country for Western shores. The countries who have already said that they will not be able to resettle the ordinary Afghan refugees who flee in hopes of finding a better future will not be welcomed by include


  • Germany
  • France
  • Austria
  • Greece
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Denmark


A consensus among European countries and its allies seems to be emerging. They think that Afghan refugees should be kept in the regions neighboring Afghanistan and include countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan and possibly Turkey. However, the general refugee who is fleeing from Afghanistan is looking for a better life and livelihood and these Asian countries might not be able to offer as much as European countries.

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