Brussels, Sep 7 (EFE).- Hundreds of thousands of Afghans may seek asylum in the European Union in the medium term, Michael Spindelegger, Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development said during an interview with Efe.
“The next one and half year is really decisive,” Spindelegger said in the interview during his visit to Brussels to meet senior officials of the European Commission. “This is something that the Taliban will decide.”
“If they are not open-minded, if they are putting a lot of pressure to the citizens of Afghanistan, then, of course, a next flow will go out of the country,” added the former Austrian foreign and finance minister.
When the Taliban first took the helm in the 1990s, “people decided to leave and then we had five times higher asylum seekers numbers in Europe,” he continued.
“We had last year about 50,000 asylum seekers from Afghanistan in the European Union. If this is five times higher, then this would mean a number of 250,000, 300,000,” he added.
Among the factors that would force people to flee the country, he listed the application of strict Sharia (the Islamic law) or tighter control on the media and businesses.
It is against the interests of the Taliban, he said, to have people trained to work in the Administration and other relevant positions leave the country.
The Taliban took control of almost all of Afghanistan when they took Kabul on Aug.15, following a rapid offensive during the final withdrawal of US-led NATO troops from the country.
The insurgents announced Monday they had taken the northern province of Panjshir, the last stronghold of the resistance; although the National Resistance Front has claimed it has not been defeated yet. EFE