Ecuador agrees to accept 5,000 Afghan refugees

Aug 28, 2021 | 18 comments

Interior Minister Alexandra Vela announced Friday that Ecuador has agreed to accept up to 5,000 Afghanistan citizens under an agreement with the United States. Tens-of-thousands of Afghans are currently being evacuated by the U.S. and their European partners as the new Taliban government prepares to take control of the country.

Afghan citizens board a U.S. military transport aircraft last week in Kabul.

Vela said that accommodating the refugees will be paid for by the U.S. but said it has not yet been determined where they will be housed. “We have an agreement in principal but the details remain to be worked out. We don’t know when the refugees will arrive and are awaiting more information from the U.S. Department of State.”

In addition to Ecuador, Colombia has also agreed to accept Afghan refugees, although the Colombian government did not disclose a number.

Vela called Ecuador’s offer to accept the refugees a “humanitarian action” based on the fact that the refugees will be in danger under a new Taliban government. “These are men and women who worked with the U.S. and European coalition that established a new government in Afghanistan 20 years, overthrowing the Taliban rulers. Because of their association with the coalition-supported government, the U.S. decided it is best to evacuate them and their families from the country.”

She added the current U.S. administration is working under an informal agreement with the Taliban negotiated by then-president Donald Trump to allow the Taliban to retake control of the country. “This is a very complicated and dangerous situation. The coalition expected the government it supported to hold off the Taliban take-over for longer than it did. Because it did not, there is a crisis with the refugees.”

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Following her comments, an interior ministry spokeswoman clarified that accommodating the Afghans was temporary arrangement.

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