More than half a million Afghan migrants heading for Europe

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More than half a million Afghan migrants have crossed the border since the fall of Kabul last year and are heading for Europe and the Channel coast, intelligence experts have warned Ministers.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel last week held an emergency summit with her counterparts in the international Five Eyes intelligence alliance to discuss how to track the exodus, the Daily Mail reported.

The Home Secretary is also seeking to toughen the UK’s response to migrants who cross the Channel, with Border Force teams moving between hotels in Britain to round up migrants and move them to holding centres on military bases, the report said.

The Five Eyes group comprising the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, combines the resources of MI6, GCHQ, the CIA and the other nations’ domestic intelligence agencies, and can be traced back to the informal meetings between American and British code-breakers during the Second World War.

The 500,000 migrants displaced by political turmoil arising from the Taliban takeover and a famine in Afghanistan this winter is in addition to the 2.6 million existing Afghan refugees around the world, the report said.

Of those, around 2.2 million are in Iran and Pakistan with a further 3.5 million people displaced within Afghanistan itself.

One area of concern is the potential weaponisation of Afghan refugees by Belarus, which is said to actively “importing” migrants and encouraging them to cross into the EU via Poland and Lithuania.

“The Afghan situation is going to cause serious problems over the coming months if we do not get a grip now,” the Daily Mail report quoted a UK government source as saying.

A big part of the problem is the Schengen open borders system which allows them to pass freely across the EU until they reach Calais.– IANS

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