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Saturday, December 04 2021

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Afghan economic woes could fuel refugee crisis for neighbours, warns IMF

New Delhi: Afghanistan’s economic woes could fuel a refugee crisis impacting neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe, the International Monetary Fund has said, BBC reported.

The economy will contract by up to 30 per cent this year –which could push millions into poverty and cause a humanitarian crisis, the fund warned.

The IMF said Afghanistan’s neighbours would be further hit because they rely on its funds for trade, the report said.

Bordering Tajikistan has said it can’t afford to take in many more refugees.

With foreign assets frozen and most non-humanitarian aid halted, inflows of cash to Afghanistan have all but dried up.

In its regional economic outlook, the fund said: “A large influx of refugees could put a burden on public resources in refugee-hosting countries, fuel labour market pressures, and lead to social tensions, underscoring the need for assistance from the international community.”

While it’s unclear how many Afghan refugees there would be, the IMF estimates that if there were to be a million more, hosting them would cost Tajikistan $100m (£72m), Iran $300m and Pakistan $500m, the report said.

Last month Tajikistan said it could not afford to take in large numbers of refugees unless it received international financial assistance while other Central Asian nations have said they have no plans to host refugees.

Nearby countries will also be hurt by the loss of Afghanistan as a major trading partner.

The IMF also warned there are concerns that funds going into the country may be used to finance terrorism and launder money.

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