The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has called on Afghanistan’s neighbors not to close their border for Afghan people fleeing from hostilities in their country, UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said on Friday.
“In the context of generalized insecurity in many parts of Afghanistan, it is increasingly clear that Afghans outside of the country may have international protection needs,” she went on to say. “UNHCR calls for all states to ensure they are able to seek safety, regardless of their current legal status.”
“UNHCR is calling on neighboring countries to keep their borders open in light of the intensifying crisis in Afghanistan,” she said. “Some 400,000 civilians have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year, joining 2.9 million Afghans already internally displaced across the country at the end of 2020.”
In this context, UNHCR has hailed the actions taken in some countries to ensure access to asylum procedures from Afghans and to suspend deportations of Afghan nationals who have been previously denied asylum.
US operation in Afghanistan
US President Joe Biden said on April 14 he had decided to finish the operation in Afghanistan, the longest foreign military campaign in US history, and pull out American troops by September 11.
Since April, the security situation in Afghanistan has seriously degraded, with the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) expanding its offensive. According to different open sources and Taliban statements, the radicals have established control over from 60 to 85% of the country’s territory, including areas along the borders with Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
The US operation in Afghanistan has been ongoing since October 2001. At its peak in 2010-2013, the number of foreign troops in the country exceeded 150,000 soldiers. The main operational forces of the US and NATO were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014.