Aug 16 - The European Union foreign ministers will hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday to discuss the fall of Afghanistan in Kabul to the Taliban, the bloc said on Monday, as countries race to evacuate citizens and local staff from a chaotic Afghanistan airport.
Five people were killed at the airport, witnesses said, as many tried to flee a day after Taliban insurgents declared the Afghan capital and seized the war against foreign and local forces.
Following latest developments in Afghanistan and after intense contacts with partners in the past days and hours, I decided today to convene a first consultation of EU Foreign Ministers for a special assessment, Europe's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter.
Afghanistan is at a crossroads. Security and security of its citizens, as well as international security at play are at play.
The European Union works with member states to find quick solutions for the relocation of local Afghan staff and their families to a safe place.
The matter is extremely urgent, we take it very seriously and continue to work hard to implement rapid solutions for them and ensure their safety, said a spokesperson for the bloc’s executive commission.
The Commission does not give details about the number of local Afghan staff employed for security reasons.
The EU foreign ministers will likely discuss the security situation in Europe and also its implications for migration to Afghanistan, a traditional destination for refugees, at their meeting on Tuesday.
Many EU member states are worried that developments in Afghanistan could trigger a replay of Europe's 2015-16 migration crisis when chaotic arrival of more than a million people from the Middle East stretched security and welfare systems and fuelled support for far-right groups.
Austria, which says it will continue to deport asylum seekers despite Kabul's seizure by the Taliban, suggested opening deportation centres in neighbouring countries.
Deportation center in the Afghanistan region might be one option. But that requires the strength and support of the European Commission, said Austria's interior Minister Karl Nehammer.
He added that he would raise the matter at a crisis meeting with his EU counterparts on Wednesday night, which was called to discuss the migrant surge from Belarus to EU member Lithuania.