Uganda is set to receive at least 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan at Namboole stadium following Museveni’s acceptance of US president request to have the fleeing Afghans stay in the country.
Uganda’s government accepted US President Joe Biden’s request to receive Afghans in the country following the Taliban takeover in the Asian nation.
The defeat of the American forces and their allies who had invaded Afghanistan to fight terrorism has created a refugee crisis and uncertainty.
This has left the US and the UN to seek help of countries such as Uganda which host most of the world’s refugees.
Available reports indicate that President Biden asked Museveni to host the Afghan officials who were running the nation’s affairs for two decades backed by the US and its allies, who also injected billions of dollars into the country.
Early this week, Museveni and Biden talked and officials from the US Mission in Kampala met their counterparts from Robinah Nabbanja’s Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to discuss how the officials, who have for years enjoyed lives well-oiled by the US, will be accommodated in Uganda.
It was then agreed that the US government would foot the bills for the officials to be accommodated in high end hotels and refugees who are likely to be sent to camps.
Subsequently, the new State Minister in-charge of Refugees, Ms Esther Anyakun, confirmed to this newspaper yesterday morning that President Museveni had endorsed the deal, much to the chagrin of State House.
“We expect to host them temporarily before they can be relocated by [the] US government. It was request from the US government to His Excellency (President Museveni). We started the preparation yesterday (Monday),” the minister said.
According to Ms Anyakun, Uganda would host 2,000 Afghan nationals temporarily — for three months or longer — with the emergency landing of the first batch expected in the country anytime.
In the official press conference early this week Mr Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, in major policy reversals painted a promising future of an “emancipated” central Asian country in which media freedom and rights of women would be respected, both within the framework of Sharia law.
He said they seek no enemies within and outside Afghanistan, will harm no American or foreign nationals in the country, announced amnesty for defeated Afghan troops and guaranteed security for fleeing Afghan national huddled at the airport in Kabul about 2,900 nautical miles away from Kampala.
Afghan Afghan families walk by the aircrafts at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war.
Uganda is currently the third largest host of refugees globally and largest host in Africa. It has no direct diplomatic and bilateral relations with Kabul, with Uganda’s interest in Afghanistan handled through the diplomatic representation in Terhan, the capital of Iran, Afghanistan’s western neighbour.
According to sources, the Afghan arrivals are proposed to be first hosted at Mandela National Stadium Namboole, partially currently a Covid-19 treatment centre outside Kampala.
US Cable News Network (CNN) confirmed that the Taliban was formed in 1994, mainly comprising former Afghan resistance fighters, known collectively as mujahedeen, who against invading Soviet forces in the 1980s, with backing of the US.
They aimed to impose their interpretation of Islamic law on the country and remove any foreign influence.