On August 16, Bangladesh reportedly rejected a request from the United States to give shelter to fleeing Afghan nationals. UNB News quoted Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen saying, “Yes, we’ve received a request from the US. We thanked them but rejected the request.”
On Monday, Momen had said in a program that Bangladesh would welcome the new regime under the Taliban if it is supported by its citizens.
He had said, “We believe in people’s government. We believe in a government which is liked by its people. We believe in democratic government,” and added that Bangladesh would welcome if the Taliban’ government’ is supported by its citizens. The request for shelter for Afghan nationals came from diplomatic channels from Washington and Dhaka.
We already have over 1.1 million Rohingyas: Bangladesh
Momen said in his statement that though the US is a friendly nation, Bangladesh is already facing problems by providing refuge to Rohingyas. Notably, nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas are staying in Bangladesh at the moment. While rejecting the request, Momen said, “Don’t put us into further trouble.” Bangladesh had also requested the names of the countries to which the US had requested to give refuge to Afghans. However, the US did not give any specific reply.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan relationships
Momen stated that Afghanistan is a friendly country and a member of SAARC. “Bangladesh wants their (Afghanistan) development,” he added. When he was asked about the terrorists operating in Bangladesh who got training in Afghanistan, Momen said, “We’ve uprooted them, and there’s no scope to see their reemergence here.”
He further said that Dhaka is carefully monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and believes it would impact the region and beyond. “We urge all stakeholders in Afghanistan to maintain peace and calm, ensuring safety and security of all, including foreign nationals.” Bangladesh would take a bilateral decision in case the permanent President and Prime Minister take oath in Afghanistan.
Bangladesh will become a helping hand
Foreign Affairs State Minister Muhammad Shahriar Alam said if there is a regular government in Afghanistan in future, Bangladesh will extend a helping hand for the nation. “We do not want to be influenced by any third country to decide on Afghanistan. We want peace in Afghanistan for regional prosperity. The people of Afghanistan have a lot of potential. They use it to stand tall in the world,” he added.
He further said that Bangladesh would cooperate with Afghanistan, but it needs to have a permanent government for that. “In the days to come, when we realise that a permanent government has come into power, we will extend a helping hand,” he added. When asked if Bangladesh has any plans to ban travelling to Afghanistan, Alam denied any such plans and said the people of Bangladesh would not go to a country that is facing law and order issues. “We will discourage you from going to Afghanistan even if we do not say so in writing,” he added.
The US has been talking to several nations to provide refuge to Afghans
On August 14, it was reported that Biden Administration was in talks with several nations to urge them to provide refuge to Afghans. It seems like Bangladesh was one of such nations. The countries are reluctant to provide refuge amidst concerns about the quality of security vetting and health screening.
The US administration had requested Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to take refugees, and they are taking a handful of them, but the progress in the arena is very little. There is a deal between the US and Qatar to host 8,000 Afghans, but the official announcement is yet to be made. Experts estimate that 50,000 to 80,00 Afghans will leave the country in the coming days.