Merkel for closer cooperation with Turkey on Afghan crisis: Report
According to Bild daily, Merkel made the remarks during an executive committee meeting of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The outgoing chancellor reportedly voiced concerns over a new influx of refugees towards Europe after the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country, as thousands of Afghans now fear for their lives.
Merkel underlined that depending on the Taliban’s policies and the situation on the borders, more Afghans may seek to flee the country and take shelter abroad.
According to the newspaper, Merkel suggested providing humanitarian support to the countries hosting Afghan refugees in the region, in order to reduce and restrict refugee flows to Europe.
Nearly 3.5 million people are displaced inside Afghanistan and almost 400,000 of them have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year, according to the UN. These figures are expected to grow in the wake of the Taliban taking over the capital Kabul on Sunday.
Afghanistan’s neighbor Pakistan currently hosts over 1.4 million Afghan refugees, and Iran is hosting more than 780,000, according to official figures.
Turkey has been a key transit point for Afghan and Syrian refugees who want to cross into Europe, but the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement significantly reduced irregular refugee flows.
Talks between the EU and Turkey continue for closer cooperation on migration, following Ankara’s sharp criticisms of Brussels over unfulfilled promises.