Evacuation of Afghan nationals to EU Member States

Briefing 08-11-2021

At the end of August 2021, the United States and coalition forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Taliban took control of the country after 20 years of conflict. The crisis in Afghanistan has prompted a global response based on humanitarian support on the ground, evacuations and resettlement of those in need of international protection, and support for neighbouring countries hosting refugees. Afghanistan has long been a priority for the EU, even before the most recent developments regarding migration and forced displacement. Afghan nationals have been among the largest groups of asylum-seekers and refugees hosted on European territory since 2014. Both the EU institutions and the EU Member States have been following the recent situation in Afghanistan closely. The EU's response has prioritised completing the evacuation of EU citizens, local staff and Afghan citizens. More specifically, the EU institutions have called for extended cooperation on the evacuations from Afghanistan and the setting up of legal pathways for Afghans at risk, while examining the future engagement with Afghanistan and regional partners. At the same time, the European Commission has presented a new 'Afghan support package' and held two high-level EU forums focusing on Afghans at risk and stressing the need for increased resettlement pledges from EU Member States. In a September 2021 resolution, the European Parliament called for a coordinated response to protect those most vulnerable, reiterating its call to the Commission for a legislative proposal on humanitarian visas, and to Member States to share responsibility for offering protection.