The governments of six European Union countries sent a letter to the European Commission, in which they called for the maintenance of the agreement with Afghanistan on the deportation of citizens of that country who did not receive asylum to the territory of the Community. The request to the EC was made despite the Taliban’s progress in the Afghan offensive.
The letter of August 5, signed by the ministers of the interior and immigration of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Germany, was written by the Reuters agency on Tuesday. “The suspension of returns (deported Afghan citizens – ed.) Sends the wrong signal and is likely to motivate even more Afghan citizens to leave the country and go to the EU,” ministers write, stressing that “Afghanistan will continue to be the main source of illegal migration.”
The European Commission confirmed that it had received such a letter and assured that it would respond to it when it was ready to do so. When asked whether the Commission considered Afghanistan to be a safe country to which people seeking asylum in the EU could be deported, the spokesman for the European Commission replied that it was up to the Member States to assess this issue.
A spokesman for the Dutch Refugee Council (VluchtelingenWerk Nederland) told the NRC newspaper that the letter was “absurd” and that it was “shameless” to send it while the Taliban was on the offensive.
Taliban offensive in Afghanistan
In July, the Afghan government called on the European Union to stop returning people whose asylum application had been rejected for at least three months. The reason indicated was the deteriorating security situation in the country.
In the wake of the swift military offensive that began after international troops began to withdraw from the country, the Taliban first seized rural areas in the south and west of Afghanistan and key border posts. They now control 65 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, threaten to seize the capitals of 11 provinces, and strive to deprive the capital of Kabul of traditional support from Afghan forces in the north, said a senior EU official on Tuesday. About 400,000 Afghans had to leave their homes.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / JAWED KARGAR