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11 Aug, 2021 13:58

Dutch U-turn on deporting Afghans as Taliban keeps gaining ground in the war-torn country

Dutch U-turn on deporting Afghans as Taliban keeps gaining ground in the war-torn country

The Netherlands has reversed its decision to send Afghans back to their war-torn country and has said it will freeze deportations for the next six months.

On Wednesday, Dutch deputy Justice Minister Ankie Broekers-Knol wrote in a letter to parliament that the Netherlands had made the call to pause the deportations of Afghan asylum seekers back to their country "in light of the quickly deteriorating situation" there.

The Netherlands was set to revisit its standpoint on rejected Afghan refugees in October but according to Broekers-Knol, the worsening conflict with the Taliban called for a more immediate decision.

Also on rt.com EU member states urge Brussels to send refugees back to war-torn Afghanistan

The decision period for pending asylum cases for Afghans will now be extended by one year, with a maximum term of 21 months applied, according to Reuters. 

In her letter to parliament, Broekers-Knol wrote, "The situation is undergoing such changes and developments and is so uncertain for the coming time, that I have decided to impose a freeze on decisions and deportations."

The decision defies a request by six EU member states - including the Netherlands - for European countries to continue deportations of Afghans. The appeal was formalized in a letter sent to the European Commission on Monday evening, signed by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands.

Also on rt.com Taliban captures NINTH Afghan regional capital in less than a week – reports

The letter read: “Stopping returns sends the wrong signal and is likely to motivate even more Afghan citizens to leave their home for the EU.”

The request received criticism and appeals to protect human rights, with one journalist tweeting, “care for human life is not a marketing ploy.”

On Wednesday, the Taliban captured its ninth regional capital in less than a week. Violence has been rapidly growing since the US withdrawal of troops from the turbulent region, forcing many who fear for their lives to seek asylum in neighboring Iran or Europe. 

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