Afghanistan + 16 more

What’s Next for Afghans Fleeing the Taliban?: Questions and Answers

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This document was updated on September 9 to reflect that the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service has resumed operations internationally from Kabul airport and some domestic flights are operating. The media reported that on September 9, a Qatar Airways flight departed from Kabul’s international airport carrying around 200 passengers.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 caused tens of thousands of Afghans to flee, often by taking desperate measures. Many others who want to flee are still seeking secure safe passage out of the country. Countless Afghans remain at risk of being targeted for their past work or association with coalition forces, Afghanistan’s former government, international development programs, media, civil society, and other organizations promoting human rights. Women and girls and their families, especially those who fear that they can no longer work or study, are also motivated to flee the country.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has projected that a half million Afghans may seek to leave by the end of 2021. Many Afghans fear persecution or reprisals under Taliban rule and hope to seek asylum or other pathways to safely migrate abroad. Some Afghans already outside the country are looking for temporary protection or permanent legal status abroad.

This question-and-answer document analyzes the policy responses of governments to Afghanistan’s refugee crisis from a human rights perspective.

  1. Who was evacuated from Afghanistan in August? Who remains?
  2. Are Afghans entitled to leave the country?
  3. Are all Afghans who leave the country entitled to refugee status?
  4. Which governments have pledged to resettle Afghans as refugees?
  5. What other options have governments made available to Afghans looking for visas?
  6. Why have governments moved some Afghans to third countries?
  7. What should governments do with respect to Afghans in their country?
  8. What can governments – and communities – do to welcome and integrate new arrivals?
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