BalkansSvet.Slajder

Кosovo to accept Afghan refugees at U.S. request, public divided

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani has confirmed that preparations are underway, at the request of the United States, for Kosovo to accept Afghan refugees while analysts warn of the security risk of possible "infiltration by the Taliban", the media in Priština and Belgrade reported on Monday.

Zagreb, 16 August 2021 (Hina/MIA) — Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani has confirmed that preparations are underway, at the request of the United States, for Kosovo to accept Afghan refugees while analysts warn of the security risk of possible “infiltration by the Taliban,” the media in Priština and Belgrade reported on Monday.

A correspondent for the Serbian RTS public broadcaster from Priština quoted Osmani as saying the nationals of Afghanistan, where the Taliban have taken over control by entering the capital of Kabul on Sunday, would be vetted by the United States and stay in Kosovo temporarily, until their documents were ready for their departure for the USA.

Following the US request, the Kosovo government has formed a task force to deal with organizational issues together with US partners, Osmani said.

Osmani said the request from President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for Kosovo to give temporary refuge to Afghan civilians now targeted by the Taliban as locals hired to work with US forces and Western allies was conveyed to her by US Ambassador Philip Cosnet on July 16.

Justifying the plan to take Afghan refugees in, Osmani said that “Kosovars know best what it means to be displaced and leave the place where you have grown up and be forced to flee to save your own life.”

At the same time, the public in Kosovo is divided over reports about the arrival of Afghan refugees.

The prevailing sentiment among various analysts commenting on the situation is that Kosovo is obliged to respond to the USA’s request but that the influx of refugees is a security risk for Kosovo, particularly because of possible infiltration by the Taliban.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, too, said on Sunday that Albania would accept refugees from Afghanistan who after the withdrawal of the USA and Western allies wanted to leave the country fearing revenge by the Taliban.

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