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Afghan Refugees Begin Arriving In Italy Through Humanitarian Corridor

Afghan refugees seek to receive asylum from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Islamabad on May 9.

The first of three groups of Afghan refugees that will comprise a total of some 300 people have arrived in Rome using a fresh humanitarian corridor established by the Italian government, charities, and international organizations.

The humanitarian corridor aims to give “additional refugees and persecuted Afghans the possibility of a future in dignity and security” following the withdrawal of the U.S.-led international troops in August last year and the Taliban’s returning to power, the ministry said.

A first group of nine people arrived in Rome from Tehran on July 25 to be followed by a larger second group of more than 200 Afghans due to arrive from Pakistan on July 27. The third group will reportedly fly from Tehran to Italy on July 28.

The 300 refugees arriving this week are part of an expected total of 1,200 Afghan refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and other neighboring countries, the ministry said, adding that women and children will have priority.

The UN refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were also involved in organizing the corridor along with charities including the Community of Sant’Egidio and Caritas.

Thousands of Afghans were evacuated after the fall of Kabul, but many who risked Taliban retribution were left behind.

Italy has been trying for several years to arrange humanitarian corridors as an alternative for illegal migration for those fleeing conflict, persecution, or other threatening situations.

However, the numbers of those being able to use such corridors are small compared to the tens of thousands of people who resort to smugglers to reach Europe.

The UN refugee agency said that 3,280 Afghan refugees arrived in Italy this year alone by the perilous Mediterranean Sea smuggling route that has caused tens of thousands of deaths.

With reporting by AP

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