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Up to Million Afghans May Seek Refuge in Europe After Taliban Take Reins, EU Lawmakers Say

© AFP 2023 / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI Migrants block the entrance of the Hellinikon camp in Athens in protest at poor living conditions on February 6, 2017
Migrants block the entrance of the Hellinikon camp in Athens in protest at poor living conditions on February 6, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.08.2021
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) Luc Rivet - As many as a million displaced Afghans may end up in Europe within the next month following a militant power grab in their homeland, EU lawmakers said.
"Afghanistan is a very rural country, with few cities. And those who could try to leave the country massively are the urban elites and middle class. They form a relatively small part of the Afghan population. Rural Afghans are those who supported the Taliban*. The real risk, as I see it, is between 500,000 and 1,000,000 urban migrants that would try to reach Europe," Thierry Mariani, a French member of the European Parliament, said.
Mariani, who was sent in 2009-2010 by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Afghanistan as the special French envoy and who is presently in Syria, added that the danger of a new migrant influx had been acknowledged even by incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.
For the French right-wing lawmaker and Tom Vandendriessche, an European Parliament member from Belgian nationalist party Vlaams Belang, those who are desperately trying to leave Kabul airport are the people who do not trust the mercy of the Taliban.
"[German Chancellor] Angela Merkel has already declared that Germany was ready to welcome the asylum seekers who would wish to come, with the traditional ‘welcoming attitude’ of Germany. ... In the European Parliament, socialist President David Sassoli has used the usual European jargon to offer the same ‘open borders’ attitude of Europe in relation with the Afghan crisis. ... These declarations send the wrong signal to the Afghan population. This could lead indeed to the arrival of one million refugees at European borders in the coming months," Vandendriessche noted.
Both EU lawmakers, however, remain optimistic about the coming developments in Afghanistan. Mariani and Vandendriessche stressed that the Taliban were good at communications, something the movement learned from Qatar. Despite Doha being accused of supporting terrorism, it nevertheless manages to maintain good relations with France and other Western countries.
"The ‘Taliban Season 2’ will be quite different from the first, I think. Europe might still avoid a new wave of illegal migration," Mariani noted.
On 15 August, the Taliban entered Kabul and took control of the presidential palace. Within hours, President Ashraf Ghani abdicated, fleeing the country. The Kabul airport soon plunged into chaos, as locals and foreign diplomatic missions tried to escape the horrors of the unknown.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia
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