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Colombia will provide refuge for Afghans: "We are part of a new international humanitarian coalition"

There are many questions regarding the reception of Afghans and their impact on Colombia, a country with a double migration crisis: that of almost two million Venezuelans and that of Asians, Africans and Haitians heading to the United States.

President Iván Duque accepted the reception of thousands of Afghan refugees, in the massive distribution that international forces are organizing after the exodus generated by the Taliban coup to the Republic of Afghanistan on August 15.

"The political and economic dynamics of the world are very rough and complex. But there is a human part to all of this, and that is providing shelter to those who need it most. They are people who left home with just a change of clothes, without a photograph and leaving their lives behind," said Néstor Orduz, consultant for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and former Colombian Migration official.

In total, 4,000 Afghans will be accommodated, including women and children, although predominantly men from Afghanistan. According to Duque, his final destination will be the United States, where Biden is pressuring different states to accept a total of 60,000 Afghans as refugees. Meanwhile, they await their request for asylum in the United States, a process that can take several months, or years.

"Colombia will grant a temporary humanitarian permit," responds the vice president and foreign minister of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, to questions from the press about the status and implications of the initiative. The Chancellor also added that "Afghans will receive medical care that includes PCR tests and the administration of the coronavirus vaccine, in case they do not already have it."

These Afghans will be accommodated in different hotels in cities such as Bogotá, Barranquilla and Cali. "In coordination with Migración Colombia, Afghan citizens will be guaranteed their free mobility throughout the country," says Ramírez, who is still waiting to receive the exact number of people and their arrival date.

"The costs will be borne by the US agency USAID," declared the vice president to reassure many Colombians who see their country falling into a severe economic crisis while the government does not reduce public spending to reactivate the economy.

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