The European Union is preparing a 600 million euro (USD 709 million) aid package for neighbouring countries to help fund the flood of Afghan refugees. As hundreds of thousands of Afghans flee Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover, the EU hopes to avert a situation similar to the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015, when decades of upheaval, conflict, and displacement resulted in the worst humanitarian conditions, with millions of people going hungry, according to the World Food Programme.
Following the abrupt and quick withdrawal of US troops, which gave Taliban control of the land, the EU will give a cash package for Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and other regional neighbours of Kabul to host Afghan refugees.
The EU is currently authorizing financial aid for Kabul’s neighbours so that Afghans leaving the Taliban government can seek safety closer to home rather than travelling all the way to Europe. This could mean that Brussels will send money to Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and perhaps Iran, which is subject to international sanctions.
As the final US aircraft carrying the last troops flew out of Kabul, EU home affairs ministers convened an emergency conference in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss Afghanistan refugees. The European Commission has previously pledged an additional €21 million in humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan. The remark was made at a conference in Pakistan commemorating 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees.
The EU’s emergency aid would also support families affected by recent harsh weather conditions in Baluchistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, according to the commission. The EU considers Iran and Pakistan to be the world’s largest hosts of Afghan refugees. In a press release, the EU said, “Financial help is essential in the host countries in true partnership and burden-sharing.” Since 2014, the EU has provided a comprehensive package of over €2.7 billion to Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan in response to the Afghan crisis, comprising humanitarian, development, and stabilisation assistance.