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Uganda helps US to evacuate people from Afghanistan

We are truly living in the age of wonders

25.Aug.21 5:02 PM
By Abigail Richards
Photo UN


Uganda helps US to evacuate people from Afghanistan
The United States uses the services of Uganda for their evacuation of people from Afghanistan. A special charter plane landed in the East African country on Wednesday morning, Ugandan and American authorities have said. According to Uganda, there were 51 evacuees on board.

Hundreds more will probably arrive in the next few days. According to Uganda, the intention is for the evacuees to be received temporarily before they move to the US or another destination. The American embassy in Uganda does not express itself in an official statement about a possible resettlement.

Uganda has opened its borders at the request of Washington, which is said to be responsible for the reception costs. According to local authorities, the evacuees will be accommodated in a hotel in the city of Entebbe, near the National Airport.

In its statement, the American embassy points to Uganda's ‘long tradition’ of accepting refugees. Uganda currently houses 1.5 million refugees, more than any other African country does. Most of these refugees come from South Sudan and Congo. By helping out now in Afghanistan, the Government of Uganda is once again showing its willingness to cooperate on issues of ‘international importance’, the US says.

But left and right also sounds critical: by working closely with Uganda, Washington legitimises a regime that keeps its own people firmly in line. Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, has been in power for 35 years.

Western criticism of his autocracy is often averted by Museveni invoking his role as a regional handyman, a role that, in addition to receiving refugees, is also reflected in Museveni's decision to deploy his army in Somalia, where the extremist group Al-Shabaab is active.

The arrival of the evacuees from Afghanistan takes place the day after the Museveni government has notified more than 50 NGOs in Uganda, officially because their paperwork is not in order. Some of the NGOs work in the field of human rights and democracy. It will be difficult for Washington to condemn this ‘oppression’ harshly now that Uganda has done a ‘favor’ to the US on Afghanistan, says political analyst Rashid Abdi.

Uganda belongs to a group of more than ten countries in total that according to the US are willing to accept (temporarily) refugees from Afghanistan. This list includes Albania, Poland and Ukraine. In Africa, in addition to Uganda, Rwanda would also like to cooperate. The Rwandan regime is also a partner of the West.

Uganda was in the news about three years ago because of the admission of deported asylum seekers from Israel. In exchange for unconfirmed returns – there would have been money, and possibly weapons – Uganda took over a group of Eritreans and Sudanese. Human rights organisations condemned the forced relocation. Rwanda denied that it had made a similar deal with Israel.

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