What is happening to the people of Afghanistan?
Encouraged by the power vacuum left by the withdrawal of Western troops, the Taliban have already regained control of about half of Afghanistan. Several thousand people have been injured or killed in the process. Europe's press looks at who is now particularly at risk and what responsibility the West bears for their fate.
Europe must take in those who seek refuge
Europeans have a political and moral responsibility to help the people who are now fleeing the Taliban, Der Spiegel stresses:
“The EU should do two things. It should negotiate an agreement with the Erdoğan government that, similar to the one in 2015, holds out the prospect of aid payments to Turkey if it grants Afghans refugee protection in return and opens up the labour market as well as the health and education system to them. At the same time, Germany and other EU states should themselves take in refugees from Afghanistan, especially all those who have worked for foreign institutions such as the Bundeswehr or the German Corporation for International Cooperation, and thus put themselves in additional danger.”
Turkey is not the EU's refugee camp
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a newspaper interview that neighbouring countries like Turkey are a better place than the EU for refugees from Afghanistan. Yetkin Report is outraged:
“Where do right-wing and racist politicians get the courage to put Turkey as Europe's refugee gatekeeper? It is not only their own hypocritical, discriminatory, and increasingly racist ideology that gave them this courage, but also the wrong refugee policy that Turkey has followed for the last ten years. The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement is right when it says 'Turkey will not be the EU's border guard or refugee camp', but it's also an overdue statement. That should have been said ten years ago when the Syrian civil war started, before Turkey was dragged into this crisis.”
Campaign tactics blocking aid
The Czech Republic remains undecided as to whether it should provide shelter to Afghans who worked for Czech soldiers in the country once the troops have left. With the elections fast approaching, the focus is once more on the Czechs' fear of migrants, Hospodářské noviny criticises:
“Czech policy betrays both pettiness and immorality: the government is hesitant to help interpreters employed by Czech soldiers and their families, even though it should be bringing them to safety. Other allies provide such help willingly. In the Czech Republic the problem is mixed up with fears of migration in the run-up to the elections. Arrest a large group of refugees would be the better strategy if you want to get ahead in the election campaign.”
West is abandoning the country's women
Afghan women are facing a return to hell, Le Monde warns:
“During their five-year rule from 1996 until the US intervention, the Taliban imposed the strictest possible interpretation of Islamic law and total submission on Afghan girls and women, and punished rebels severely. Education for girls over the age of eight was banned, as was gainful employment. For those Afghan women whom America prides itself on having helped to liberate with the prospect of equality, the return of the Taliban would be a huge setback. Whatever Joe Biden says, in this respect, withdrawal is tantamount to abandonment.”