Europe to help stem Afghan migration

TMP – 07/03/2017

The British defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon has warned that Afghanistan may collapse if coalition forces pull out of the country and that this will pose a new migration crisis.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on 20 February, Sir Michael Fallon warned that if Afghanistan was to fall into the hands of insurgents and extremists this would pose very direct consequences for western countries like the UK and Germany.

“There could be three to four million young Afghan men sent out by their villages to migrate westwards, and they are heading here. They are heading to Germany or Britain and that could be the consequence if this entire country collapses,” Sir Fallon said.

He also stressed the need for NATO forces to be present in Afghanistan for the sake of protecting democratic values. He further added: “If it was right to go in, it has to be not right to leave before the job is done.”

The British defence secretary’s remarks come at a time when there is a record-high number of Afghan refugees on the move. With 2.7 million Afghan refugees in 2015 and 62,100 refugees last year, Afghan migrants constitute the world’s second largest migrant group after Syrians.

Meanwhile, Germany is speeding up the deportation of rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin. The Head of the German Chancellor’s Office and the government coordinator on refugee affairs, Peter Altmaier, said 80,000 rejected asylum seekers were returned to their own countries last year. In an interview with the Bild newspaper he added that out of the 700,000 asylum applications received in 2016, almost 300,000 were rejected and are due to be deported. According to available data, three-quarters of asylum applicants in 2016 came from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.