Another flight with refugees from Afghanistan has landed in Greece. Among the more than 100 people were primarily judges, lawyers, journalists and other people whose lives were in danger under the Taliban regime.
On Monday (November 22), 119 Afghans were granted temporary shelter in Greece after being evacuated on a special flight from Kabul to the northern city of Thessaloniki. The group is believed to have been at risk from the Taliban.
Greek officials said that among the passengers were Afghanistan's former minister of borders and tribal affairs, Mohibullah Samim, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported. Other passengers included a lawyer who had prosecuted suspected Taliban fighters, women's rights activists and a female judge.
According to the AP, passengers will stay in Greece until they are able to travel on to other countries, including the United States and Canada.
So far, Greece has taken in 819 people from Afghanistan, according to the dpa news agency. AP on the other hand spoke of "about 700 people in all," including a "group of female Afghan judges and former members of parliament together with their families."
Following the takeover of Kabul by the militant-Islamist Taliban on August 15, thousands of Afghans have been facing repressions and mortal danger in their home country. According to a recent report by the German foreign ministry, safety and security for the Afghan population has declined dramatically since the Taliban seized power.
In recent months, Greece has been stepping up security at its eastern border and has been tightening surveillance over its maritime borders. Aid organizations have repeatedly accused Greece of forcibly returning potential asylum seekers to Turkey.
In October, an investigative project by various media organizations provided evidence that Greece conducts this illegal practice known as pushbacks using EU funds.
The Greek government, however, argues that it is protecting its own national borders, which are also EU borders. Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has repeatedly stressed that there will be no more chaotic situations like the one in 2015, when more than 850,000 migrants entered Greece irregularly from Turkey on their way to central Europe. Despite fears, Greece has not seen a big influx of Afghan refugees this fall trying to enter illegally.
Moreover, Greece has lately transferred thousands of migrants likely to be granted asylum to the mainland. They include pregnant women, older or sick people as well as children.
With AP, dpa