Kabul attack: How safe is Afghanistan?

We just witnessed a huge attack in Kabul ith 80 dead. On the other hand countries like Germany are sending back ever greater numbers of asylum applicants from Afghanistan basically saying that the country is safe. This approach was paused after the attack and I know every case is different but how do you think the EU countries should deal with Afghan refugees? Read few comments.

Jorrit Kamminga, Senior Visiting Fellow, Netherlands Institute for International Relations Clingendael

There is a complete disconnect between the EU’s Joint Way Forward refugee policy and the reality on the ground in Afghanistan. It is similar to the security transition between 2011 and 2014 which was purely based on political interests outside of Afghanistan and had nothing to do with the security situation in country. The situation is now much worse than in 2014, not only in terms of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties, but also when it comes to territorial control and influence of the Taliban. And even if Afghanistan was safe at the moment, the huge influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees coming back from Pakistan and Iran would warrant caution on behalf of European countries when considering sending back asylum seekers. In Afghanistan we are already seeing pressure on local prices such as food, wages and rental prices because of the unprecedented influx of returnees, which can create further tension and conflict in the coming months.

Frederic Grare, Nonresident Senior Fellow, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Afghanistan problem is at the crossroad of several issues. On the one side, admitting that there is a growing security problem in Afghanistan is de facto admitting defeat which would be politically difficult after, for some European countries like Germany, some 15 years of sustained investment of blood and money in the country. The Afghan refugees are one additional evidence of the problem. Moreover they arrive in Europe at a time of growing difficulties with the management of the flow of refugees arriving from the Middle East in an uncertain electoral context. The decision of some European countries, as regrettable as it may be, is the reflexion of this set of difficulties.

There seem to be no other way out of the Afghan refugee issue than a deeper involvement in the search for a political solution in Afghanistan which feasibility depends on the nature of the US security commitent to Kabul. More than the quest for an elusive victory over the Taliban, US forces in Afghanistan should be used as a tool to bring the belligerents at the negotiating table. Europeans could then be part of the process. At this stage however, this is at best a hope. The refugee drama is likley to continue for some time.

Christian Kaunert, Academic Director, Professor of European Politics, Institute for European Studies

I think it is quite clear that many parts of Afghanistan are not safe – and the attack shows, even the safe areas are not always safe. This does not translate directly into being persecuted for each individual case, but at least, it suggests the need for some temporary protection potentially. The acceptance rates for Afghani refugees should be higher, given the country of origin information that can be gleaned from the media and from Amnesty International, etc…the mass return of those applicants does not seem to be easily defensible given the humanitarian crisis in the country and given the increased strengthening of the Taliban.

Thomas Ruttig, Co-director, Afghanistan Analysts Network

The attack in Kabul is only a reminder for us here in Europe how bad things are in Afghanistan. There are attacks and fighting every day somewhere in the country. Sometimes with a lot of casualties, too.

So, Afghanistan is not a country were people should be deported to, and also not send back to “voluntarily”, as often there is much bureaucratic pressure on asylum seekers before they become “volunteers”. Investment in a peace strategy and better preparation for returnees would be useful.




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