- The governments of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands have written to the EU’s executive arm.
- Belgian Minister for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi has asked the Commission to continue to guarantee “forced return of some Afghans”.
- Mahdi allowed: “Just because regions in a country are dangerous does not mean that every person from that country has the right to protection.”
Six EU countries have called on the European Commission not to stop the deportation of Afghan migrants despite faster progress in the Taliban, officials said on Tuesday.
The governments of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands wrote to the EU’s executive that they should be allowed to send back Afghan migrants if their asylum offers fail.
Afghanistan called on the EU in July to end forced deportations of Afghan migrants for three months as security forces fight the Taliban offensive ahead of the US full withdrawal from Afghanistan on 31 August.
“In a letter, I have asked the Commission, together with Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece, to continue to guarantee the forced return of certain Afghans,” said Belgian Asylum and Migration Minister Sammy Mahdi.
“Just because regions in a country are dangerous does not mean that every person from that country has the right to protection,” he said.
The Dutch Ministry of Justice also confirmed that it had asked Brussels not to suspend forced deportations, while adding that “developments in Afghanistan were being closely monitored”.
Danish Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye said he was “happy” that the six countries had the same opinion on the issue.
“It is important for the government that unsuccessful asylum seekers be sent to their own country,” he said in a statement issued after the letter was originally sent late last week.
But a senior EU official said that since the Afghan authorities had informed Brussels that Kabul had suspended its forced travel for three months, there was little chance that anything would go ahead.
The official said:
And given the current situation, I do not expect forced travel to actually take place.
The official said that so far this year, 1,200 people had been returned to Afghanistan from the EU – of which 1,000 were “voluntary” and 200 “forced”.
The Taliban have control of seven Afghan provincial capitals after a blitz in the north of the country forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.
The United States has almost left the battlefield before the end of the longest month of war, following the 2001 invasion to overthrow the Taliban following the 9/11 attacks.
Following Kabul’s appeal to EU countries on 11 July, Sweden and Finland stopped forced deportations to Afghanistan.
Afghans in 2020 accounted for 10.6 percent of asylum seekers in the EU, or just over 44,000 of approximately 416,000 applications, the second largest behind Syrians with 15.2 percent, according to EU statistics.