Taliban Is In Turkey For Talks After Warning US & EU That Sanctions Will Cause New Refugee Wave To Hit West
October 14, 2021 |Taliban Is In Turkey For Talks After Warning US & EU That Sanctions Will Cause New Refugee Wave To Hit West
The Taliban has warned US and European envoys during ongoing talks in Doha that continued sanctions and US-led political pressure could unleash new refugee waves on Europe.
"Afghanistan's new Taliban government has warned US and European envoys that continued attempts to pressure them through sanctions will undermine security and could trigger a wave of economic refugees," the AFP wrote of the statement. Later in the week, the Taliban carried the same message to Turkey, which would find itself on the front lines of any migrant surge out of central Asia.
Taliban official and acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told his Western counterparts that "weakening the Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone because its negative effects will directly affect the world in (the) security sector and economic migration from the country."
Perhaps both a warning and a threat, and reminiscent of the 2015 migrant crisis driven in large part by the destabilizing war in Syria, Muttaqi added the following demand:
"We urge world countries to end existing sanctions and let banks operate normally so that charity groups, organizations and the government can pay salaries to their staff with their own reserves and international financial assistance."
As for any recent "concessions" by Washington, the Biden administration days ago announced the US would resume humanitarian aid "to the Afghan people" - but on the condition of Taliban cooperation, including allowing foreign nationals free movement to exit the country. The US has still resisted any level of formal political recognition of Taliban rule over the country, however.
Aid, investment, and security were top of the list of concerns as the Taliban met with top Turkish officials in Ankara Thursday. Given Turkey has long been the number one regional "bridge" between Asia and Europe for migrant and refugee traffic, the question of Afghan refugees is of prime importance for Turkey's government.
Taliban delegation meets in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. pic.twitter.com/fsKK9vjItH— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) October 14, 2021
Turkey is expected to feel the shock first of any coming refugee wave out of Afghanistan, given it's already long been for years a "jumping-off point" for Afghans making the arduous trip to Europe. The past decade alone has seen some 600,000 Afghans settle in Turkey - all the while a mass wave of Syrian refugees exited there as well, many which are still along Turkey's southern border (over 3 million).
Turkey is reportedly now constructing a nearly 300km wall along the Iranian border to physically block the exodus coming from central Asia, according to prior reporting in the AFP.
During a press conference after the Turkish FM-Taliban meeting, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that while the Turkish side reiterated a desire for Taliban reforms in human rights and areas like girls' education and women's employment, Turkey's foremost concern remains stability.
We do not put forward preconditions like many European countries do, we always say everything should be inclusive, every relevant party from [Afghanistan] should be included to ensure peace and stability is established – Turkey’s FM Cavusoglu pic.twitter.com/X82TBSIZHl— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) October 14, 2021
The question of security, which Turkey has offered assistance on when it comes to protecting Kabul's international airport, is no doubt directly linked to Turkey as well as European fears of a new migrant crisis at their gates. In statements to the press, Cavusoglu appeared to take an indirect swipe at US policy toward the Taliban, saying it won't press for "preconditions" of "inclusivity" like the US and UE, but desires a secure Afghan environment above all.