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EU to Meet to Discuss Preventing Uncontrolled Migration From Afghanistan

Children stand behind a fence in a hangar as they wait for their departure at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, Aug. 30, 2021, where the American military community overseas houses thousands Afghan evacuees in a tent city at this airbase.

European Union ministers will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss preventing uncontrolled migration from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s seizure of the country, according to a statement drafted for the meeting.

EU member states hope to prevent a refugee crisis like the one fueled by Syria’s civil war in 2015. The EU was unprepared for the influx of more than a million refugees and migrants that created splits among members, while also energizing far-right parties, as camps in Greece, Italy and other countries became filled.

A wave of migrants from Afghanistan is likely to escalate tensions among EU members. The draft says the member nations likely will fund the housing for refugees in countries bordering Afghanistan to prevent them from coming to Europe.

In a letter sent to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson before the meeting, Amnesty International said the 27-nation bloc “must refrain from extremely damaging responses that put emphasis on keeping the EU's border 'protected' and proposing or adopting measures that shift the responsibility for the protection of refugees to third countries.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warns that up to a half-million Afghans could flee their home country by the end of the year. The International Rescue Committee estimates 2.6 million Afghan refugees already are being hosted primarily by Iran and Pakistan.

Thousands of others were evacuated before the U.S.-imposed August 31 deadline to withdraw in a massive airlift conducted by military forces from Western nations.