Uganda, Balkan nations to take Afghan refugees after US request

Uganda, Balkan nations to take Afghan refugees after US request
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Uganda said Tuesday it had agreed to temporarily take in 2,000 Afghan refugees, answering a request from the United States following the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan.

The United States on Monday made the request to President Yoweri Museveni, who agreed to temporarily house the Afghan civilians for three months before the U.S. government resettles them elsewhere, Uganda's junior minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, told Reuters.

The east African nation, which already holds about 1.4 million refugees, joins a growing list of nations that said they will take in a small number of Afghans while the Biden administration scrambles to evacuate thousands out of Kabul after the Taliban won control of the city over the weekend.

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North Macedonia has said it will temporarily take in 450 Afghan refugees by the end of the week, Al Jazeera reported.

Albania and Kosovo, meanwhile, have also accepted a U.S. request to offer safe haven to Afghans for the moment.

The White House has been heavily criticized from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over the chaotic nature of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. White House and Pentagon officials have also faced questions about how the administration was so wrong about the rapid advance of the Taliban and subsequent collapse of the Afghan government.

The U.S. government is now rushing to evacuate thousands of American citizens and at-risk Afghans ahead of the Aug. 31 date that is supposed to mark the completion of the withdrawal.

The Pentagon on Tuesday vowed to accelerate evacuation flights out of Kabul after a mass rush on the airport Monday prompted the military to halt flights until the airfield could be secured.

Within the next 24 hours, the U.S. military is planning to ramp up to one flight out of Kabul per hour, a pace that could evacuate 5,000 to 9,000 people per day, Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor of the Joint Staff said at a Pentagon briefing.

And White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanBiden to receive 'regular updates' about Michigan school shooting Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE on Tuesday acknowledged the tragic images that have surfaced as Afghan civilians and American personnel scramble to exit from Afghanistan but defended the U.S. military's withdrawal from the country as the correct choice.