The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said he does not expect a huge number of refugees from Afghanistan to arrive in Europe, as long as those fleeing the country are provided with aid sooner rather than later.
The extent of any mass exodus from Afghanistan will depend on just how brutally the Islamist Taliban decides to govern, Grandi told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Friday.
First and foremost, he said, it would be Afghanistan’s neighbours who are most likely to see an influx of refugees, particularly Pakistan, Iran, and, to a lesser extent, Tajikistan.
A greater “risk” to the European Union (EU) was likely only if the refugees are not promptly provided with aid and decide to attempt the journey to Europe, he added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday also urged European countries to shoulder more responsibility for Afghan refugees reaching its borders.
“Turkey has no mission, responsibility or obligation to be Europe’s refugee warehouse,” Erdogan said in televised remarks late on Thursday.
“We need to remind our European friends of this fact: Europe cannot stay out of this problem by harshly closing its borders to protect the safety and well-being of its own citizens,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish president argued border measures by some European countries “violate international law,” adding that Ankara intended to send illegal migrants in Turkey back to their country of origin.
“These people can then decide where to go and through which channels,” he added.
Erdogan’s remarks come amid an increasing number of Afghan refugees arriving in Turkey and the growing public resentment towards them. (dpa/NAN)