Germany and the Netherlands Halt Deportations to Afghanistan

Germany and the Netherlands suspended the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers as the Taliban conflict worsened in Afghanistan.

Almost 30,000 Afghans in Germany are presently obliged to leave the country, many of them are unsuccessful asylum applicants.

According to Germany’s interior minister, the decision was made due to concern for Afghan refugees.

“The security situation on the ground is changing so quickly at the moment that we can’t fulfill (our responsibility for the safety) of the deportees, the staff accompanying them or the flight crews,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.

Seehofer justified deportations in general as “a vital component of migration policy,” saying that expulsions of convicted criminals would continue as soon as the situation allows.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed the move and noted that the Afghan government had earlier requested to suspend flights until the end of October.

In the Netherlands, Justice State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol told parliament that the developments in Afghanistan were so unexpected that a decision was made to impose a departure restriction.

At least six other European Union member nations argued last week that the forceful deportation of migrants back to Afghanistan should continue, despite Kabul’s government suspending “non-voluntary returns” for three months.

In a letter dated Aug. 5, the interior ministries of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands asked the EU’s executive branch to “intensify negotiations” with the Afghan government to guarantee that refugee deportations would resume.

Afghan security forces, which have been backed, educated, and paid with billions of dollars in a 20-year Western military operation that included many EU countries, appear incapable of dealing with the Taliban onslaught.

In 2015, more than a million refugees sought asylum in Germany, the majority of them came from civil war-torn nations such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

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