Afghan refugees stranded by the US ask to return home from the UAE
Seven months after their evacuation from Afghanistan, thousands of Afghan refugees have denounced the prison-like conditions they are kept in
By News Desk - March 19 2022

(Photo credit: Rise to Peace/via REUTERS)

Dozens of Afghan refugees stranded in the UAE since the Taliban victory against the US-backed Afghanistan government last August have volunteered to return home, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The refugees say that, seven months after being evacuated from Afghanistan, their situation has worsened as they wait for Washington to process their documents to travel to the US.

The US State Department refused to reveal the number of Afghans who volunteered to be repatriated, according to the WSJ, nor did they elaborate on the necessary requirements that the refugees would need in order to return to Afghanistan.

An Afghan evacuee who worked at Kabul International Airport told reporters he and his family returned home last week after their savings were depleted.

“I have to go because of my family. It’s been almost seven months. My family has nothing to eat. Who will feed them?” he reportedly told US officials in the UAE.

He also revealed that, in order to allow him and his family to leave the refugee camp, US officials asked him to sign a document stating he would not be at risk of retaliation from the Taliban.

“The United States remains in active conversations with bilateral and international partners about third country resettlement for those Afghans who may ultimately not be able to travel to the United States,” the WSJ quotes US officials as saying in response to the news.

In February, protests broke out at the refugee camp in Abu Dhabi, in reaction to the slow pace of refugee resettlement to western countries. Afghan refugees also decried the prison-like conditions of the camps.

At the time, many refugees were reportedly told that some of them might never be allowed into the US.

On 4 March, a senior US State Department official announced that the process to resettle the thousands of refugees currently stranded in the UAE, Albania, Mexico, and other countries will extend until at least August of this year.

“I told them that I was really sorry it was taking so long and I was as frustrated as they were, frankly,” the official said, according to a report from Al Jazeera. “But I also asked for their understanding of how hard we’ve been working to get the systems going.”

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