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IPFS News Link • Afghanistan

Afghan Refugees Say US Base in Kosovo Has Become a Prison One Year After Evacuation

• by Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter

A year later, thousands of the refugees are languishing in camps worldwide as they wait for Washington to allow them to enter America. 

In Kosovo, the US opened Camp Liya next to the US Army base Camp Bondsteel. When Liya opened on August 29, 2021, the Pentagon said it would close in 365 days and act as a "lily pad" for Afghan refugees. The migrants were told they would only remain in Kosovo for a short time before receiving permission to enter the US or a third country. But many Afghans remain at Liya, and the DoD has scrapped plans to close the camp. 

Speaking with DW, some camp residents said the Liya facility had become a prison. "A prisoner can have access to his case, and he can ask about his case, why he is here, for how long he will be in detention. If we ask that, they don't give us any reason why we are in this camp and for how long," one man said. 

Another noted that he has been unable to earn money for his family back in Afghanistan while stuck at the camp, saying his children are going hungry.

Many of the permanent residents of Liya say Washington has been opaque about the status of their immigration applications, declining to offer details while keeping them in a state of limbo. 

"They told us that we would be here for a couple of months, but we are here for almost one year. After eight months they said: 'You are not eligible to go to America.' We ask them what's the reason. They didn't tell us," an Afghan refugee told DW. Others say they have received no response from the US after several months.

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