UN: Afghan deportations should only occur in exceptional cases

The UN refugee agency said on Sunday that deportations to Afghanistan should by and large be avoided due to the lack of safety in the ongoing civil war there.

“The security situation in the country permits repatriation only in exceptional cases,” UNHCR’s representative in Germany, Dominik Bartsch, said. “And the situation has worsened in recent months.”

The Taliban, a radical Islamist group that was removed from power in in Afghanistan 2001 by a US-led military alliance, have regained control of large swathes of land, and attacks on Afghan security forces continue to be carried out by the Taliban and Islamic State militants.

The United States has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban with the aim of ending the ongoing conflict.

The Taliban’s power grab has also affected the situation in the Afghan capital Kabul, which was once seen as a place of refuge, Bartsch said.

“The city is completely overburdened and decidedly more dangerous than before,” Bartsch said. “It is no longer option for those fleeing the violence.”

The UNHCR therefore advises authorities to examine every asylum application carefully, Bartsch said, “not only because each region in Afghanistan is different, but also because the dangers for each person present themselves differently, according to age, sex and origin.”

Nearly 600 Afghan nationals whose asylum applications were rejected have been deported from Germany to Afghanistan since December 2016.