Pakistan is deporting illegal Afghan migrants en masse and Germany is taking them in

Afghan refugees wait to register in a camp near the Torkham Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Torkham, Afghanistan, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. A huge number of Afghans refugees entered the Torkham border to return home hours before the expiration of a Pakistani government deadline for those who are in the country illegally to leave or face deportation. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The first flight of 188 Afghan migrants expelled from Pakistan for living in the country illegally has arrived in Leipzig as the German federal government vows to accept vulnerable Afghans who don’t wish to return to their Taliban-governed homeland.

According to Zeit Online, the charter flight that touched down in Germany this week from Islamabad was the first of its kind since the Pakistani government announced in October that it was adopting a mass deportation program for an estimated 1.7 million Afghan illegal migrants from the country citing national security.

The move was announced after new data revealed a majority of suicide bombings in Pakistan this year were carried out by Afghan nationals.

“There are no two opinions that we are attacked from within Afghanistan and Afghan nationals are involved in attacks on us. We have evidence,” Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said in October.

Germany, however, seems intent on offering safe passage to Europe for a number of those at risk of deportation.

Under its federal admission program, Berlin identified 44,000 Afghans who face possible persecution by the Taliban, as well as their eligible family members, who they want to bring to Germany.

At the end of November, around 11,500 Afghans were still waiting for admission to Germany, including 3,000 currently living in Pakistan.

Zeit Online reported last month the German embassy was preparing to receive the cohort currently residing in Pakistan but faced a race against time to get them out before Islamabad pushes ahead with deportation.

The federal government revealed it had enacted “protective measures” including “sending a list of people staying in Pakistan and to be admitted to Germany to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry”.

Left-wing MPs in the Bundestag, such as Clara Bünger, have urged the federal government to speed up its admission process for new arrivals even if this compromises national security.

“Extended security checks can, if necessary, also be carried out after entry into Germany,” she told the government last month.

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