Iran, Albania ready to temporarily house Afghan refugees

Albania has accepted a US request to temporarily take in Afghan refugees seeking visas to enter the United States, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Sunday, as Taliban forces entered the Afghan capital Kabul.


Albania has accepted a US request to temporarily take in Afghan refugees seeking visas to enter the United States, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Sunday, as Taliban forces entered the Afghan capital Kabul.

Rama said US President Joe Biden’s administration had recently asked fellow NATO member Albania to assess whether it could serve as a transit country for a number of Afghan refugees whose final destination is the United States.

“We will not say ‘No’, not just because our great allies ask us to, but because we are Albania,” Rama said on his Facebook account.

This week, sources told Reuters that Biden’s administration had held discussions with such countries as Kosovo and Albania about protecting US-affiliated Afghans from Taliban reprisals until they complete the process of approval of their US visas.

In Kosovo, Luan Dalipi, Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s chief of staff, said his government has been in contact with the US authorities about housing Afghan refugees since mid-July.

“There’s a lot of logistical, technical, security, and social work that we are handling carefully,” Dalipi said in a statement.
Hundreds of US troops are still stationed in Kosovo as peacekeepers more than two decades after the 1998-99 war with the then-Yugoslav security forces.

In 2014, Albania accepted some 3,000 members of the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran, also known by its Farsi name Mujahideen-e-Khalq, and they have settled in a camp near Durres, the country’s main port.=

Iran said on Sunday it has prepared accommodation in three provinces bordering Afghanistan to provide temporary refuge to Afghans fleeing their country as Taliban insurgents enter the capital Kabul.

“Camps have been built in border areas in three provinces,” Interior Ministry official Hossein Qasemi told Iran’s state news agency IRNA.
But he added that: “We expect those Afghan refugees to return home when the situation improves in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan’s oil-rich western neighbor Iran has for years been a destination for Afghans seeking work or fleeing war.

But the state of Iran’s economy, long stifled by US sanctions, has persuaded Tehran to encourage many of the more than 2 million Afghan refugees in the country to return home.

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