Rights groups say EU fails Afghans fleeing Taliban

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Human rights and refugee groups appealed Thursday to the European Union to step up its help for people trying to flee Afghanistan, accusing the bloc of failing to do enough to assist those living in fear of Taliban rule.

More than 100,000 people were airlifted out of Kabul in a chaotic exodus late last month after President Joe Biden announced that U.S. troops would withdraw, and the Taliban seized control of strife-torn Afghanistan in just a few weeks. Thousands more Afghans want to leave.

In new figures released Thursday, the EU’s asylum agency said that asylum applications by Afghans numbered 7,300 in July – before the government fell – a 21% increase over June and the fifth consecutive monthly rise. Almost 1,200 were unaccompanied minors, EASO reported. More than half of asylum applications by Afghans in Europe are rejected.

“The EU should be sharing, rather than shirking, the responsibility to offer them protection,” the 24 non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, Caritas Europa, the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, and the Red Cross, said in a statement.

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