Iceland Ready To Receive Another Group Of 35-70 Afghan Refugees - Government

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th January, 2022) The Icelandic authorities said on Friday that the country was ready to receive another group of 35-70 Afghans with strong ties to Iceland, as their home country remains unstable since the Taliban (under UN sanctions over terrorist activities) came to power.

The exact number of refugees is still unknown, as it depends on the size of their families.

On August 24, 2021, the Icelandic government approved proposals of the refugee committee to provide assistance and to host some categories of Afghan refugees in Iceland with strong ties to the country. These categories included employees of the NATO mission and their families, Afghan nationals who received education in the United Nations Gender Equality Studies Training Programme in Iceland, Afghans who have already received permits to stay in Iceland but were unable to relocate, and those Afghans whose family members currently live in Iceland. Priority was given to single mothers living in a vulnerable position.

In the fall of 2021, 78 Afghan refugees moved to Iceland via the initiative. Iceland expected up to 120 refugees, but some families declined the offer or were permitted to stay in other countries.

In August 2021, the Taliban took over Afghanistan as the United States was withdrawing troops marking the end of the twenty-year presence in the country. In September, the Taliban established an interim government led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, the former deputy foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Afghanistan in the First Taliban government.