Amid the Taliban’s cataclysmic return to power in Afghanistan, the South African government says it does not have the capacity to accommodate refugees who fled the country to Pakistan.
An already overwhelmed social welfare system presents a challenge for South Africa and would not enable the intake of more refugees, according to a TimesLIVE report.
Thousands of people want to flee Afghanistan after the Islamist militant group took control of the country, following a raging 20-year war, after the withdrawal of US forces a fortnight ago.
“The request is that they be accommodated in SA en route to their final destinations. The government is, unfortunately, not in a position to accommodate such a request,” said the department’s spokesperson, Clayson Monyela.
“South Africa is already hosting a high number of refugees. Many are beneficiaries of the social assistance and healthcare programmes offered by our country.”
Monyela added international law makes the provision that the wellbeing of refugees is best accommodated by remaining in the first country of arrival pending their final destinations.
According to News24, the United Nations (UN) said it was bracing itself for a possible exodus of up to half a million more Afghan refugees by the end of the year.
The intergovernmental organisation said although there aren’t proportionally a high number of people at borders, there are plans to change this as the crisis worsens.
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