Germany stands divided over the reception of Afghan refugees, and that debate is only expected to grow after 20 of those evacuated by the German army, the Bundeswehr, failed the security checks administered by the German authorities.
While 20 may have failed, Germany’s Bild newspaper says it is possible that far more criminals could have entered the country during the evacuations who have gone undetected.
The Bundeswehr evacuated a total of 4,587 people from Afghanistan. Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer said 20 of the evacuees had failed security checks by the German authorities. Seehofer said there are convicted rapists among the 20 people, and there are also those who have already been deported from Germany to Afghanistan. According to the dpa news agency, several individuals known to German counter-terrorism authorities have also been found during the security screenings.
German society is otherwise closely divided on the reception of Afghan refugees. According to a survey commissioned by the dpa news agency, 46 percent of Germans want the government to refuse asylum seekers from Afghanistan, while 47 percent would accept them. According to a poll by YouGov, a quarter of Germans would only accept Afghans if other EU member states decided to do the same.
According to the Welt am Sonntag, by the end of July this year, 72,000 asylum applications had been submitted in Germany, mostly by people claiming to be Syrian or Afghan nationals. The paper recalled that Germany has the largest Afghan diaspora outside of Central Asia, so there is a good chance that the federal republic will again face significant migratory pressure if masses leave Afghanistan for Europe. Germany’s generous welfare system also serves as a major draw to Afghans and other foreign nationals.
Trouble at Europe’s borders
At the same time that countries like Germany plan to fly in 70,000 Afghan nationals, migratory pressure is increasing at the European Union’s external borders. According to an EU report released by Welt am Sonntag, the number of illegal entrants entering the European Union from Turkey has, as of last week, reached the level before restrictions were imposed last March due to the coronavirus epidemic. According to the confidential document, already there are more people traveling from Turkey to more distant Italy than to the nearby Greek islands.
So far, 4,739 illegal migrants have arrived on Italian shores from Turkey this year, while 4,577 have arrived on the Aegean islands since the beginning of the year.
In the central Mediterranean, 39,183 migrants have arrived in Europe so far this year, which amounts to 83 percent more than in the same period last year. Last week, 3,236 people reached the Italian coast from North Africa. According to the report, the situation at the EU’s external borders is still calmer than at the time of the 2015 migration crisis.
Title image: Military police patrol between makeshift departure gates inside a hanger for evacuees from Afghanistan at the United States Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. The United States is using the military base in Ramstein, Palatinate, as a hub for the evacuation of shelter seekers and local forces from Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)