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Politics

Greece Finishes Anti-Refugee Border Wall to Block Fleeing Afghans

With some 40,000 Afghan refugees seeking asylum, Greece doesn't want any more who want to get away from the terrorist group The Taliban occupying their country, and has finished a 40-kilometer (24.85 mile) long fence to keep them out.

There are also surveillance systems and drones which can spot anyone nearing the land border along the Evros River with Turkey, which in February, 2020 sent 10,000 migrants and urged them to cross before they were repelled by Greek riot police and Army units.

Greek officials were said anxious that the lighting one-week takeover of Afghanistan after the United States and NATO abandoned the country to its fate after 20 years of fighting the Taliban could see a repeat of 2015 when more than a million refugees and migrants came en route to other European Union countries.

With the EU's border now shut to them the problem has largely been dumped on Greece which has some 100,000 people from a number of countries, primarily Syria and Afghanistan, in detention centers and camps on five islands near Turkey's coast and on the mainland.

Under an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU that saw the numbers reduced – even more after the COVID-19 pandemic began early in 2020 – Turkey is supposed to contain some 4.4 million people who went there fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands.

The Afghanistan crisis had created “possibilities for migrant flows,” Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said after visiting the region of Evros with the defence minister and the head of the armed forces

“We cannot wait, passively, for the possible impact,” Chrysochoidis told reporters. “Our borders will remain safe and inviolable,” he added, said the newspaper Kathimerini.

Chrysochoidis said the extension to the existing 12.5-kilometer (7.76-mile) fence had been rapidly completed as the events in Afghanistan unfolded and that it includes a hi-tech, automated electronic monitoring system.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan talked on the phone about the worry of more Afghan refugees, with the Turkish leader reportedly recommended Afghanistan and Iran – a transit country – should be given aid to keep them from reaching Turkey or Greece.

Human rights groups and activists have accused Greece of pushing back refugees and migrants across the border and in the Aegean where they try to reach the country from Turkey, which allows smugglers to keep sending them.

Greece also has fenced off detention and launched EU-wide tenders to build two closed-type facilities on the islands of Samos and Lesbos, close to Turkey's coast in another attempt to deter refugees and migrants from coming.

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