Albania said it was ready on Sunday to temporarily host hundreds of Afghan refugees bound for the United States, including women leaders, government officials and others in danger from the Taliban.
“NATO member Albania is ready to shoulder its share of the burden,” Prime Minister Edi Rama said on his facebook page on Sunday.
“Washington has already asked Albania to consider the possibility of serving as a transit country for a number of Afghan political immigrants whose final destination would be the United States,” he said.
Rama said Tirana had already received requests for Albania to provide refuge for “hundreds of people from intellectual circles and women activists. Afghan women on the Taliban execution lists”.
“We will not say ‘no’, and not just because our great allies ask us to, but because we are Albania,” Rama said.
The US, Britain and other Western countries are in a race against time to evacuate their own citizens as well as vulnerable Afghans who worked for them and fear reprisals by the Taliban.
Canada has also expressed its readiness to welcome more than 20,000 refugees.
At the request of the United States, in 2006, Albania agreed to host five Chinese Uyghurs detained at Guantanamo, considered by Beijing to be terrorists.
In 2013, at the request of Washington and the UN, Albania hosted 200 members of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMPI). Their number has since increased and there are now about 3,000 in Ashraf and Manze, the largest group of PMOI exiles in the world.