Somaliland has agreed “(in) principle” to take in refugees from Afghanistan, a foreign ministry official said Friday, as tens of thousands of people desperately flee the war-torn nation following a Taliban takeover earlier this month.
The militants have repeatedly promised a different kind of rule to their brutal regime of the 1990s that saw girls barred from school, women confined to their homes, most entertainment banned, and stonings and public executions used as punishments.
But since their August 15 takeover of Kabul, many Afghans have grown increasingly desperate to escape the country before the Taliban’s deadline for evacuations expires at the end of the month.
On Friday, a spokesman for Somaliland’s foreign ministry told AFP that Hargeisa had entered into discussions with US officials about temporarily hosting Afghan refugees.
“We (in) principle agree… to host Afghan refugees for the transit period,” the official said, adding that the agreement was still at a preliminary stage, with technicalities still to be worked out and no date set for their arrival.
The US government has also been in talks with Uganda about taking in refugees. On Wednesday, a charter flight carrying 51 Afghans – including men, women and children – landed in the East African country, with more evacuees expected to arrive in the coming days.
The evacuations were in response to a request from Washington to temporarily host “at-risk” Afghan nationals who are in transit to the United States and other destinations worldwide, Uganda’s foreign ministry said.
Optics. The worlds eyes are on you. Showing once again Somaliland can be relied on as a partner in global matters and is punching well above its weight. The UN/US will will build facilities to house them which leads to more foreign direct investment. Berbera could become a hub for processing refugees fleeing from the middle east and beyond. Ethiopian refugees might start pouring in to Somaliland if things continue as they are. In Berbera food can be shipped in through the port for refugees, people can be shipped in or out through the port, heavy planes can land in the airport and water is not an issue.
There are already building contractors like Shafa Al Nahda (port) and NBHH(road) present in Somaliland, who can build the required facilities ASAP.
Imagine this, just a couple of weeks after AMISOM’s mandate to stay in Mogadishu was extended and the current contingent is being bolstered with more troops from Uganda. Meanwhile, Somaliland offered to house refugees fleeing Afghanistan! One can’t safeguard its president let alone citizens on its own and the other is offering to safeguard foreign refugees!
Peace & Stability- check
Potential Oil & Minerals- Check
Geostrategic relevance - Check
Friends in the right places - work in progress
leverage like the above will all but guarantee the return to the dual track policy of old, clearly SL is on a different trajectory to Somalia.
“Politics is about interest, and nations exist & have friends when there is an interest; Somaliland has created an interest for the first time; Berbera Port is not for Africa only, but a global hub now.”
Uganda and Colombia are among developing countries offering temporary asylum to hundreds of evacuees from Afghanistan in transit to the US and other western nations. Since the mid-August takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, thousands of people have rushed to leave Afghanistan, but as entry processes for many western nations slowed the process, less wealthy economies volunteered to help out. A string of nations, mainly in the global south, “have made generous offers regarding the relocation efforts for at-risk Afghans”, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said this month. Rwanda, Mexico and Costa Rica among others have joined in volunteering to take people in. Even the self-declared east African state of Somaliland, which already hosts Yemeni refugees, is in discussions with the US to join in the efforts, a local government official told the Financial Times.