Panel: Long-term resettlement of Afghan refugees is ‘where the crisis unfolds’
Once the evacuation from Afghanistan is complete, the next job that needs to be done is to permanently resettle the flow of refugees leaving the country and “try to figure out what happens after we leave,” a former deputy said on Wednesday. -President of the Joint Chiefs.
“A lot is going to be left behind” within that deadline, said retired Naval General James Cartwright, referring to both people and equipment. The Taliban have said they will not allow the United States to stay in the country after August 31. and cut access to the airport for Afghans and tightened checkpoints to block overland routes, according to press reports.
The withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in the late 1980s showed “it’s going to be dangerous” and rushed. It would take “tens of thousands” of additional troops to extend the deadline and provide more evacuation airports than Kabul.
The longer-term resettlement issue is “where the crisis is heading” as the United States is already moving materiel and withdrawing the forces it sent to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to secure the evacuation of Americans, other foreign nationals and Afghans. who assisted the US mission, worked for non-governmental organizations and the UN
That’s the “hard thing,” Cartwright said of the relocation issue at an Atlantic Council online forum. “We have to put this in place. He cited the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who fled the country after the communist takeover in 1975 as an example of the scale of the problem.
Lyla Kohistany, a former naval officer and longtime intelligence consultant, said she hoped the wave of public-private partnerships to help Afghans leave as the Taliban invade the country is not a “cause -celebrity “which ends next week. Now, with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center, she asked, “How many people are going to support refugees” for 20 years or more?
The situation at the airport “is chaotic,” said Rina Amiri, senior researcher at the Center for International Cooperation at New York University. People only leave “with the clothes on their back”.
“Only the United States has the military to keep the airport open for further evacuation,” said Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN deputy secretary general and British diplomat. He cited President Joseph Biden’s comments on the deadline for G-7, NATO and European Union leaders on Tuesday as evidence of maintaining the August 31 deadline for leaving.
Indeed, Washington has maintained itself in the position of “this is how it’s going to be,” he added.
The Biden administration is already considering [extending the deadline to continue to provide U.S. aircraft ] as a creeping mission “and” leaves the most vulnerable in danger, “Amiri added.
Inside Afghanistan as the Taliban tighten their control, Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University, said the group’s actions “belied already their words ”. She cited the program of assassinations of activists, especially women, which began months ago and a door-to-door campaign of intimidation that is accelerating in Kabul and major cities.
“The Taliban are going to want to close the door” to what others can see of what they are doing, Cartwright said. Panelists cited the crackdown on Afghan journalists and the closure of cell phone towers and the limitation of external communications.
As to whether the Taliban would keep their word not to provide safe haven for Al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, Kohistany was skeptical. She said that “there are worse actors” already operating in Afghanistan.
What is also unfolding in Afghanistan is a humanitarian crisis, as food and fuel prices rise and supplies run out, banks remain closed and foreign aid halted, the panelists agreed.
Amiri said that contact with the Taliban, and more importantly with the Afghan people, was essential to understand what is happening now and in the future. Cartwright added that as a military commander he always tried to maintain contact with an adversary to avoid miscalculations.
Earlier this week, retired Army General David Petraeus, also a former CIA director, said he would not rule out continued contacts with the Taliban and even a reopening of the US embassy in Kabul.
Malloch-Brown said the UN Security Council remains too divided to act in alleviating the humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan; but China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Qatar, as well as the West, have important political and security stakes in the future of the nation.
So far, China has shown little interest beyond economics – expanding its Belt and Road initiative into Afghanistan and completing work in Pakistan, he added.