EU Governments Criticise Afghanistan Deportation Bans

Afghan passengers carry their belongings as they come out from the domestic terminal, at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 8, 2021. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

Several European Union member-states have criticised a move by Sweden and others to halt deportations to Afghanistan, saying that it could encourage Afghans to try and come to Europe.

Ministers from the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Greece, and even Germany have criticised the halting of deportations to Afghanistan, saying: “Stopping repatriation sends the wrong signal and is likely to motivate more Afghan citizens to leave their homes to travel to the EU.”

The letter, which was written to EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson, urged countries to continue deportations to Afghanistan, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.

While the letter did not mention any countries specifically which have halted deportations, such as Sweden, it expressed concern that such actions could motivate Afghan migrants to try and get to the EU as they would have no fears of being deported.

According to the Swedish broadcaster, since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, as many as 570,000 Afghan nationals have attempted to apply for asylum in European Union countries.

As the security situation worsens and the Taliban advances throughout Afghanistan, many are concerned that it could trigger a new surge of migrants in numbers not seen since 2015.

German humanitarian development worker Sybille Schnehage, who has worked in Afghanistan for decades, predicted that as many as three million Afghans may try and seek asylum in Europe in the near future.

“I always ask people: Why don’t you go to Saudi Arabia? They are Muslims. This is your culture. The answer is always: ‘No, Germany is better’,” she said.

Sweden is not the only country to halt deportations to Afghanistan. This week, the French government also stated that it had stopped the return of Afghan nationals in July.

“In view of the deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan, France had suspended removals to this country since the beginning of July. We are following the evolution of the situation closely, in conjunction with our European partners,” the French Interior Ministry said.

On Wednesday, both Germany and the Netherlands, despite being signatories to the letter to the EU, also announced they will halt Afghan deportations.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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