The situation in Afghan territory is deteriorating even more.
Reports on the ground of round-ups by the Taliban, in search of those who have collaborated with the West, journalists, activists and those belonging to religious and ethnic minorities (such as the Hazara), are increasing.
Even women’s situation, despite the promises made by the Taliban leaders, is worsening dramatically:
- kidnappings of girls to give them in marriage to fighters have begun;
- in Herat, mixed classes in private universities have already been banned, and for many institutions that do not have the necessary finances, this means being forced to exclude women from education;
- there are increasing allegations of girls reporting that they have been prevented from entering places of education;
- the number of reports of women being excluded from workplaces is growing.
All this is happening at a time when Western troops, following the attack on Kabul airport claimed by Isis-K, have decided to end the airlift early, effectively leaving behind hundreds of people who have collaborated in various capacities with European governments and/or NGOs.
The situation on the ground will further deteriorate once the 31.08 deadline is reached and the American troops leave the country entirely.
We know that owing to the tremendous chaos in recent days, relatives of some Afghans who are in Italy have managed to reach Pakistan. Here, however, they are reporting a failure to make contacts with international organisations and are therefore forced to live in precarious sanitary conditions, barely sufficient to ensure survival. Complying with the rules for the prevention of COVID-19 infections is impossible for them, and they run the risk of worsening their already precarious health situation.
On 22 August 2021, Pakistan closed its frontiers with Afghanistan, leaving the only alternative means of escape the attempt to cross the border illegally.
Sources on the ground report that the trafficking networks have increased the prices for crossing the border more than tenfold, effectively cutting off this alternative for many people.
The border closure will have devastating consequences on the human rights of thousands of Afghans who find themselves trapped in the country.
Besides, reaching Europe is unfeasible for Afghans as it is almost impossible to cross the Libyan and Turkish borders, both of which are blocked as a result of agreements signed with the EU and strongly supported by it.
We, therefore, call on European governments, especially the Italian government, to ensure that
- A dialogue is opened as soon as possible with Pakistan, to provide effective and immediate instruments for the immediate evacuation of Afghan kins who have their family members in Italy and have reached the country following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul;
- Effective instruments are put in place to ensure that people whose safety and enjoyment of democratic freedoms are at risk can leave Afghanistan even after 31 August 2021;
- An extraordinary G20 meeting proposed by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi should be urgently called to develop immediate instruments aimed at guaranteeing the right of Afghan citizens to travel to Europe, given that it is not possible to use humanitarian corridors to evacuate safely all those who would be entitled to international protection
- The Afghan nationals’ repatriation from Europe, which is still being carried out by some Member States, is discontinued and, at the same time, the reception of Afghans already on the Balkan route is granted;
- The European Union opens a dialogue with the United Nations organisations currently operating in Pakistan and Iran to arrange an efficient reception system capable of tackling the humanitarian emergency that will soon be looming on the borders with Afghanistan;
- The European Union initiates a dialogue with the government of Pakistan to ensure that the country reopens its borders with Afghanistan as soon as possible.
We are several associations that have been cooperating with the Afghan community for years, representatives of the community itself, associations of migrants and refugees, and we all demand that the European Union does not abandon Afghan people.
Especially after recognising the serious mismanagement that has been made, we cannot turn our backs on thousands of women and men who believed in the better future that was promised to them by the Western coalition. The Afghan people have already suffered enough, even more in these hours, because of promises that have never been kept.
The European Union must act united and in line with its founding principles and values. At such an important time in the history of human solidarity, Europe as a whole cannot back down.
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