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ED: Our hearts go out to the Afghan people

  • Published at 05:09 am August 18th, 2021
afghanistan plane
REUTERS

Turning down refugees is never an easy decision

With the Taliban taking over the government in Kabul, chaos reigns in Afghanistan, as many desperately try to flee for their lives. The world has seen images of Afghans crowding the airport in Kabul, holding on the sides of aircraft in futile hopes of escape. For all those Afghans who are against the rise of the Taliban, this is a trying time, and like all other nations in the region, Bangladesh is closely following the events on the ground, and indeed, our hearts go out to the people of Afghanistan who fear they will lose their rights under this new regime.

Unsurprisingly, Bangladesh received a request from the United States government asking us to give temporary shelter to some Afghan people, which we have had to decline. As sympathetic as Bangladesh is to the plight of Afghanistan, we are realistically not in any position to host additional refugees on our soil. If we had the resources, we would step in and help. But with over a million Rohingya housed within our borders for the last few years, the fact of the matter is, our resources are stretched to breaking point. Bangladesh is committed to its humanitarian obligations, but we are now at capacity -- that is the reality.

Twenty years of US occupation in Afghanistan has created a complex geopolitical scenario, and exactly how this new iteration of the Taliban plays out remains to be seen. A humanitarian crisis in the region, though, cannot be denied, and turning down refugees is never an easy decision. But at this stage, other countries will have to step up and do their share.