Where now for the Afghan refugees?

Category : Top Stories

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. respectively / rɪˈspɛk tɪv li / (adv.) – in the same order as the things previously mentioned

    Our sales in August and September increased by 10% and 12%, respectively.

  2. migrant / ˈmaɪ grənt / (n.) – a person who moves to a new country, usually to work

    The number of migrants from South America has increased recently.

  3. storage unit / ˈstɔr ɪdʒ ˈyu nɪt / (n.) – a room or space in a building where items are kept or saved for later use

    My apartment is small, so I rent a storage unit for my off-season clothes.

  4. backlash / ˈbækˌlæʃ / (n.) – a strong negative reaction against something, usually a social or political issue

    The government received backlash after it announced its new tax policy.

  5. resettle / riˈsɛt l / (v.) – to move to live in a different place

    After the strong earthquake hit the city, many families resettled in the countryside.


Read the text below.

When the U.S. withdrew its military from Afghanistan, it tried to evacuate as many American and Afghan civilians as it could — more than 123,000, by one count. Where will they go?

It makes sense to think they will go to neighboring countries like Pakistan and Iran. But those two countries took in massive numbers of Afghans last year — 1.45 million and 780,000, respectively.

This year, Pakistan and Iran said they have already taken too many. The governments say refugees will be kept in camps near the border and eventually will have to return to Afghanistan.

Last year, Turkey took in almost 130,000 Afghan refugees, but this year it is building a border wall. It says it will not be “Europe’s migrant storage unit.”

There is also little appetite in many EU countries for taking too many refugees. The 2015 migrant crisis is fresh in their memories and they do not want to stoke another backlash.

But other countries are opening their doors. The U.K., Canada and Australia have promised to take in a total of more than 40,000 Afghan refugees. Even Japan, not known for accepting refugees, is talking about taking in hundreds more.

In the U.S., there is wide support for accepting Afghan refugees who helped the U.S. in Afghanistan. A poll in late August found 81% of people thought the U.S. should “help those Afghans come to the U.S.” State governors from both parties have promised to resettle them.

However, the U.S. hasn’t yet said how many Afghan refugees it will accept.

Afghans are already arriving in the U.S. Many are U.S. citizens or legal residents. Those who helped the U.S. in Afghanistan may qualify for a special visa. Whether they meet a warm welcome is another story. (T)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Pakistan and Iran said they’ve already taken too many refugees this year, so they’ll be kept in camps near the border and eventually forced to return to Afghanistan. What do you think about this policy (ex. reasonable, heartless)? Why? Discuss.
  • Turkey said that it won’t be “Europe’s migrant storage unit,” so it’s building a border wall this year. Do you think it’s a good idea for countries to build border walls? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In the US, state governors have promised to resettle Afghans who helped the US. What, if anything, should they provide to the Afghans who resettle in their state (ex. free English language lessons, free housing)? Why? Discuss.
  • The author wonders if Afghan migrants will meet a warm welcome overseas. Do you think most people in your community would be welcoming to Afghan migrants? Do many people from other countries live in your area? Discuss.
Category : Top Stories