The government of Uganda has accepted a request from the White House in the USA to host at least 2000 refugees from Afghanistan following the takeover of the Taliban government in the South Asian country.
The request was made to President Museveni from his counterpart Joe Biden yesterday before a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister between US and Ugandan officials was summoned to discuss technicalities.
Indeed, a meeting between US Mission officials and Ministers in the Prime Ministers office specifically Disaster Preparedness happened on Monday night and agreed to host the first batch of Afghan refugees who mostly include Afghanistan designated officials to the tune of 500.
The Minister for Disaster Preparedness Davinia Anyakun confirmed the developments adding that “we are ready for the first batch which arrives today at Entebbe Airport”.
“They are mostly officials in the previous government, we shall host them not in refugee camps, maybe hotels for now,” she added.
According to the meeting outcomes, the US will be responsible for all costs and not a single coin will be spent by the Ugandan government.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden is defending his decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan despite the quickly unfolding calamity there, vowing not to pass on the problem to a fifth U.S. president.
During his remarks, Biden said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan “was never supposed to be nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what has always been, preventing a terrorist attack on (the) American homeland.”
The president added that “our true strategic competitors, China and Russia, would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars into” Afghanistan indefinitely.
Though poor, Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, with over a million refugees, most of them from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Somalia. Kenya, Sudan, DRC and Ethiopia are also among the top refugee-hosting countries on the continent.
The refugee population in Uganda has been growing since 2013. Currently about 200 asylum seekers arrive daily in the country.
“Uganda has continued to maintain an open-door policy to refugees based on traditional African hospitality and not turning away anybody who is running to us for safety,” said Hilary Onek, Uganda’s Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.