Afghan refugees © Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

Germany Mulls Deporting Half its Afghan Refugees, Karzai Says it’s a Good Idea

Germany is reportedly seeking to deport around 40,000 of the 79,449 Afghan refugees that have applied for asylum as part of a deal with Kabul. Former Afghan President Karzai said deportations would be “a good solution” for his country’s reconstruction.

Berlin wants to deport roughly 40,000 Afghan asylum seekers, including refugees willing to return to their homeland voluntarily, as well as migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected three times in a row, according to Bild magazine.

The plan is part of a bilateral agreement between the German and Afghan governments, the magazine’s report said, adding that most migrants will be taken to Afghanistan on charter flights.

If implemented, practically half of all Afghan migrants that have recently arrived in Germany could be deported on various grounds. Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has registered 79,449 Afghan nationals that have applied for asylum, according to the agency’s July report.

There was no mention in the report of any time frame for expelling such a sizeable number of migrants, however. The Bild report adds that the German government would surely take measures to exempt women and minors whose lives may be at risk if they returned to Afghanistan.

According to the latest BAMF figures, German authorities granted asylum to 57,058 refugees in August alone, compared to just 16,769 in the same month last year.

Unexpectedly, the move has been welcomed by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, though similar mass deportations from other European countries have courted controversy and been criticized as inhumane.

“Yes, the voluntary deportations are a good solution,” he told Bild in an interview on Friday. “[The deportations] bring well-educated people back who we need so much. Every single talented Afghan is vital for our country’s future.”

However, Karzai added that he perfectly understands why people have been forced to flee from war-torn countries like his own.

“I myself have security concerns relating to my family. Even my wife is scared when our son goes to the German school in Kabul every morning.”

“But to leave the country is not a solution. You should not avoid the problem, you must do something against it, locally,” Karzai said.

The former Afghan leader told the magazine he believes that young Afghans that fled the country hoping to start a new life in Europe are needed in their home country, which is struggling with an immense terrorist threat.

“Our only chance is to stick together and fight against the terror. Therefore, I advise all Afghans: Stay at home and don’t flee!” he said, while stressing “we must rebuild our country.”


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