Government against general ban on deportations to Afghanistan | free press


Berlin / Kabul (dpa) – Even though the Taliban are now on the rise, the federal government does not currently have a general deportation ban for people from Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the federal interior ministry confirmed on Wednesday that a deportation flight from Munich to Kabul originally scheduled for Tuesday evening was canceled at short notice due to security concerns. At the same time, however, he stressed that the collective expulsion must be caught up as soon as possible.

In the specific case it concerns only six perpetrators who have now been remanded in custody after the canceled flight. But the question of whether deportations to Afghanistan are justifiable now – in the midst of the federal election campaign – certainly has the potential to rekindle the old dispute over migration policy. The Greens and Left currently find deportations to Kabul irresponsible. Some SPD politicians see it that way too.

Taliban advance

The near-complete withdrawal of foreign troops and massive territorial gains by the Taliban have sparked a new influx of refugees. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that about 30,000 Afghans leave their country every week.

In addition to Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan is already one of the main countries of origin for people who apply for asylum in Germany. And even deportations to Syria are in fact impossible.

The reason for the short-term cancellation of the planned deportation was explosions in Kabul, Federal Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter explains. The ministry had decided that the Afghan authorities would not be burdened with additional burdens in such a situation. Moreover, on the planned departure date, it would not have been possible to make clear beyond any doubt whether the repatriation would be possible at this time without risk to those on board.

An attack on a home belonging to Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi hit the Afghan capital on Tuesday. The militant Islamist Taliban have claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the building, located about four miles from the airport. “We are also aware that the security situation has deteriorated in recent weeks,” said a spokeswoman for the State Department, whose situation reports serve as the basis for asylum decisions about Afghanistan.

Deported mostly offenders

In recent years, only men – mainly criminals and so-called terrorist threats – have been returned from Germany to Afghanistan. The federal government organizes the flights. However, it is up to the federal states to decide who is evicted.

“Asylum seekers who commit serious crimes in Germany have forfeited their right to stay and have to return to their home country,” said SPD MP Dirk Wiese. The security situation in the country of origin must also allow this – “in Afghanistan this is currently very difficult”. The situation must therefore always be assessed up-to-date.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must constantly review its assessment of the situation in the country and adjust it if necessary,” said the domestic political spokesman for the Union’s parliamentary group, Mathias Middelberg. The CDU MP demands: “If new refugee movements emerge, the EU must intervene and, as in the case of Syria, support escape options in the region.”

Reluctance among Afghanistan’s neighbors

However, the states in the region are not particularly willing to take in any more refugees from Afghanistan. After all, Tajikistan is preparing to receive up to 100,000 people from the neighboring country by setting up tent camps. The Iranian government is unlikely to allow many Afghans into the country due to the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. Pakistan has installed a new border fence.

There are also concerns about immigration into Turkey. The country has been a destination and transit station for Afghans on their way to Europe for years. According to observers at the border, several hundred migrants are currently coming every day to Turkey via Iran – mainly Afghans, but also people from Pakistan and Iran.

Many newcomers say they want to go to Istanbul or another major city to work. Some stay, others save for onward travel. Nazir Hussein Tawakkuli (21) from the southeastern Afghan province of Gasni also wants to go to Europe. He has been in Turkey for a month and a half, he says. With the help of smugglers, he came to the border province of Van via Iran and paid about $1,100 for the entire route. Some of them were on foot, some with vehicles. It would have taken them 20 days for the entire route. From Europe he wants to support his family in Afghanistan and if possible catch up. But now he’s stuck in Van because he’s out of money.

After the approximately 3.6 million refugees from Syria, an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Afghans form the largest group of migrants in Turkey. While Syrians in Turkey are temporarily protected, the situation for Afghans and other migrants is more precarious.

Meanwhile, Turkey is shutting itself down and building a wall on the 300-kilometer-long border with Iran. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Wednesday that about 253,000 people had crossed the border illegally this year. He did not say from which states the majority of those rejected came.