Merkel ally: US responsible for Afghanistan situation now

BERLIN (AP) — A leading member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc called Thursday for the United States to provide funding and shelter to those fleeing Afghanistan now.

“The United States of America bear the main responsibility for the current situation,” Markus Soeder, the governor of Bavaria, said. “Because of their decision to leave Afghanistan, in parts overly hasty, they have the main responsibility.”

Soeder noted that the U.S. had already provided security guarantees for the evacuation of foreigners and local staff from Kabul, and should do likewise “when it comes to providing financial support to neighboring countries, especially for UNHCR and, if necessary, also for taking in people.”

The U.N. refugee agency has said that so far most displacement following the seizure of power by the Taliban has been inside Afghanistan. But some officials in Germany are already warning of a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis that saw hundreds of thousands of people from Asia and Africa come to Europe.

Soeder, who leads the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, said fears about a fresh influx of migrants should not be exploited in the campaign for Germany’s upcoming national election.

“Of course it needs to be ensured that there’s no uncontrolled movement of people,” he said. “But I also say that having no repeat of 2015 for us means no instrumentalization of the migration question … in the election campaign.”

Soeder, who lost a bid to be the Union’s candidate to succeed Merkel, was heavily criticized in 2018 for talking about the need to crack down on “asylum tourism.”

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