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11 Aug, 2021 15:10

Germany follows Netherlands’ lead & suspends deportations to Afghanistan, days after asking Brussels to let them continue

Germany follows Netherlands’ lead & suspends deportations to Afghanistan, days after asking Brussels to let them continue

In an abrupt U-turn, Berlin said on Wednesday it will halt deportations to Afghanistan for security reasons just days after it urged the EU not to block deportations. The decision follows a similar reversal by the Netherlands.

Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer ordered the deportations to be halted “for the time being,” the minister’s spokesman, Steve Alter, told journalists on Wednesday.

“On the basis of the current developments in the security field, the Federal Interior Minister has decided to temporarily suspend deportations to Afghanistan,” Alter wrote on Twitter. According to the German dpa news agency, six Afghans were scheduled for deportation last week but the procedures were postponed. 

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

The ministry did not give an exact timeframe during which deportations would be halted. Instead, Alter told journalists that almost 30,000 Afghans currently residing in Germany were slated for deportation. He added that the Interior Ministry still believes “there are people in Germany who need to leave the country, as soon as possible” but did not elaborate on when exactly that could happen.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Netherlands also announced a “moratorium” on deportations amid “uncertainty” in Afghanistan. Amsterdam said that the moratorium would be in place for at least six months.

Both nations suddenly changed their minds after earlier asking the EU to allow the deportations to Afghanistan continue. Together with Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Greece, they urged the European Commission to “guarantee the forced return of certain Afghans” just days ago. 

“Stopping returns sends the wrong signal and is likely to motivate even more Afghan citizens to leave their home for the EU,” the nations’ ministers wrote to the European Commission in an August 5 letter. 

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

Kabul had previously requested that EU nations put a pause on deporting Afghans back to Afghanistan for three months, which Finland, Sweden and Norway did. The European Court of Human Rights also opposed the continued deportations. 

The court particularly ordered Austria to postpone the deportation of one Afghan citizen last week, citing “a clear risk of irreparable harm to the complainant”.

The developments come amid a massive onslaught by Taliban militants in Afghanistan. The militant group launched a large-scale offensive as US troops and allies were gradually withdrawing from the war-torn nation after two decades of war.

The militants have reportedly captured nine Afghan provincial capitals in less than a week. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu also said on Wednesday that the Taliban was in full control of the Afghan border with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 400,000 Afghans have been internally displaced since the beginning of the year.

Also on rt.com 400,000 Afghans have been internally displaced by conflict, EU says

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