(Tirana) Albania and Kosovo said they were ready to take in hundreds of Afghan refugees on Sunday, including female leaders, officials and other people potentially threatened by the Taliban standing at the gates of Kabul.
Posted on Aug 15, 2021 at 12:03 pm
“NATO member Albania is ready to shoulder its part of the burden,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a response posted on his Facebook page on Sunday.
Kosovo, a northern neighbor of Albania, a former Albanian-majority Serbian province that proclaimed its independence in 2008, “without hesitation” accepted the United States’ request to “temporarily” take in Afghan refugees, the president said on his Facebook account.
“We need to be by our friends, especially the United States, because they have been by our side,” she said.
Unlike the US and most EU member states, Serbia, like its ally Russia, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Edi Rama confirmed that “Washington has already asked Albania to examine the possibility of serving as a transit country for a number of Afghan political immigrants whose ultimate destination would be the United States”.
The right-wing opposition leader Lulzim Basha also spoke out on Sunday in favor of a “favorable” response to the US’s demand to accept Afghan refugees.
The United States is already in a race against time before withdrawing from Afghanistan to evacuate Afghans who worked for the US military.
Canada has also agreed to accept more than 20,000 refugees, many of whom are at risk from the Taliban’s advance in major cities in Afghanistan.
In 2006, at the request of the United States, Albania agreed to accept five Chinese Uyghurs detained in Guantanamo and viewed by Beijing as terrorists.
In 2013, at the request of Washington and the United Nations, Albania admitted 200 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) after bombing their camps in Iran.
Since then, their number has risen to around 3,000 in the “Ashraf 3” camp in Manze, the world’s largest group of PMOI exiles.