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US-sponsored Afghan refugees prioritized for asylum

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Image by Marius Arnesen
Katarina Panic

Three non-EU Balkan countries have expressed their willingness to accept Afghan refugees. But not all refugees, but only those who benefit from American protection. Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo have announced their readiness to serve as transit countries for a number of Afghan refugees whose final destination is the United States.

Afghan citizens can only stay there temporarily until the United States completes necessary security assessments and arranges immigration visas.

The secrecy of the negotiations was confirmed by the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, who said she first received the request from the American Ambassador Philip Kosnett on July 16, a month before the information emerged. be made public.

“Without any hesitation or conditioning, I gave my consent to such humanitarian operations. (…) The United States of America has requested that this matter remain confidential for security reasons and the process of exiting Afghanistan. Like So, we respected this request, but we did not stop the work,” she wrote on her Facebook account on August 15.

Una Hajdari, an award-winning independent journalist from Kosovo, said the three countries reaffirmed the US alliance by accepting Afghan refugees. EU membership blocked which encourages Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo to curry favor with Washington,” she wrote for POLITICO.eu.

So far, none of these countries have been willing to welcome Afghans who do not have the privilege of being hosted by the United States.

The number of undocumented migrants – mainly from Syria and Afghanistan – entering the European Union through the Western Balkans has almost doubled this year, the European border agency Frontex said in a statement. Press release last Thursday.

Bosnian journalist Nidžara Ahmetašević, who has covered the Balkan route since the 2015 crisis, warned that countries on this route should help all people fleeing their countries, without preference for those with privileged status and excluding the others, especially since the EU borders are closed. .

European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Europe must create humanitarian corridors to accommodate refugees fleeing Afghanistan and avoid uncontrolled flows of undocumented immigrants. “Or at least the countries that are willing to do it should do it,” he told Italian daily Il Messaggero on Tuesday.

Image by: Marius Arnesen

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