The TV news and press coverage of the mayhem in Kabul and around its airport mask the greater scrum by tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Afghanis heading towards the country’s borders with the neighbouring states and beyond.
Already tens of thousands have entered Pakistan and Iran recently as a result of the violence in their country. Pakistan says that officially documented afghani refugees on its territory total 1.4million; Iran says it houses 700,000. The number is very likely much higher, and large numbers have made or intend to make their way to Turkey, many en route to Europe. Both Iran and Turkey are not as hospitable to these Afghanis as they once were both because of fears related to the COVID pandemic, as well as because of the current strength of the xenophobic domestic political tendencies in both. Turkey already has 3.6 million Syrian refugees and, together with Iran, they have hundreds of thousands of Afghani refugees from previous conflicts.
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