Afghans in danger 'have no clear way out': UN

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Aug 20, 2021, 05:20 PM(IST)

The emblem of the United Nations. Photograph:( AFP )

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Spokesperson of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Shabia Mantoo reiterated UN's call to neighbour countries of Afghanistan to keep their borders open to allow people to seek asylum

United Nations refugee agency said on Friday that most Afghans are unable to leave their homeland and those in danger "have no clear way out".

Spokesperson of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Shabia Mantoo reiterated UN's call to neighbour countries of Afghanistan to keep their borders open to allow people to seek asylum. She called the situation in Afghanistan "evolving crisis".

"The vast majority of Afghans are not able to leave the country through regular channels," she told a Geneva news briefing. "As of today, those who may be in danger have no clear way out."

Mantoo said that there have only been "small-scale movements" of Afghans crossing into Pakistan and Iran. These two countries already host 90 per cent of the 2.6 million Afghan refugees registered since fleeing their homeland over the last decades.

More than 18,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since the Taliban took over Afghanistan's capital, a NATO official said on Friday, pledging to redouble evacuation efforts as criticism of the West's handling of the crisis mounted.

Mantoo welcomed the evacuation of Afghan nationals through such separate bilateral programmes, but stressed that they should not substitute for an "urgent and wider international humanitarian response".

"UNHCR remains concerned about the risk of human rights violations against civilians in this evolving context, including women and girls," she added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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