Afghans Who Worked For France Get A Chance At Asylum – And Spark An Exodus

Afghans Who Worked For France Get A Chance At Asylum – And Spark An Exodus

A French foreign ministry initiative to grant asylum to Afghans working for French governmental and non-governmental organizations has sparked a mass exodus – as well as criticism for sending the wrong signal at a critical juncture.

Andrew H. Sweet

In a few weeks, the NGO (Afrane) has lost almost all of its 23 Afghan employees, who are about to leave the country under a French foreign ministry operation that enables Afghans who have worked for France and their families to obtain asylum.

The vast operation, launched in early May, concerns around 600 Afghans. Afrane's employees and their families account for about 80 of the overall figure.

If the project is completed by mid-July, only French staff will remain at the embassy in Kabul. Its satellites across the country will be virtually closed as they will not be able to function, according to a report in the French daily Le Monde.

The French initiative has also drawn criticism from NGOs on the ground.

In early June, an umbrella group of French NGOs, COFA (Collective of French NGOs in Afghanistan) –Afrane is a member – wrote a letter to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denouncing a "unilateral decision that is contrary to Afghanistan's interests."

Read the original story here.

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