Afghanistan: At-Risk Civilians Need Evacuation
Afghans at heightened risk of persecution from advancing Taliban forces are in urgent need of evacuation and international protection abroad.
According to Human Rights Watch, foreign governments should prioritize providing visas and helping ensure safe passage for civilians whom the Taliban may target for abuse because of their past work or status, along with their immediate family members.
Civilians feared to be at particular risk include those who have worked to promote human rights, democracy, and education; academics, writers, journalists, and other media workers; and people who have done work for foreign countries; among other at-risk categories. Members of ethnic minorities and Shia Muslims, in particular Hazaras, are also at greater risk.
Governments should immediately suspend all deportations and forced returns to Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said. All countries should publicly recognize that Afghans fleeing Afghanistan should be given meaningful opportunities to seek asylum. The United Nations and UN member states should increase humanitarian assistance to neighboring countries to which Afghans are fleeing and support those countries admitting them. Governments should also increase support for emergency evacuation, relocation, and resettlement operations for Afghans, and urgently meet to adopt coordinated protocols for resettlement to third countries for people particularly at risk.
Governments should also increase support for nongovernmental groups inside and outside of Afghanistan that promote human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, education, health care, and other vital needs. Governments should ensure the participation of Afghan civil society groups in discussions of assistance and resettlement.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Violence & war—like occupation—never solve problems.” The comments by Zarif comes as the Taliban have entered Kabul and a transitional committee has been formed to hand over power to the Taliban in a peaceful way. Zarif said, “Iran welcomes announcement by @KarzaiH on forming a Coordination Council by Afghan leaders. We hope that it can lead to dialogue & a peaceful transition in Afghanistan.” Zarif reiterated that “Iran stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts” in Afghanistan.