Western nations deported people to Afghanistan. Now they’re reluctant to accept refugees.

Support us and go ad-free


Western nations behaved “shamefully” by deporting people to Afghanistan before leaving the nation to the Taliban, an advocate for Afghan refugees has said.

Abdul Ghafoor is the director of the Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organisation (Amaso). He said some nations were trying to deport Afghans back to the nation even until the day Kabul fell. He told the PA news agency:

I have been advocating against the deportation to Afghanistan for the past six years… my fear was what we are witnessing today…

It’s shameful to see that some of the countries were insisting (on deportations) until the last day – until Kabul had collapsed.

Millions suffering

The UK government has only promised to take up to 20,000 Afghan refugees, with 5,000 in the first year, following the Taliban takeover. Ghafoor commented that:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

I don’t think (5,000) is enough… there are millions of people suffering…

I don’t sleep at night, just worried by my fellow Afghans back in Afghanistan.

Ghafoor was working in his office in Kabul when the capital fell on 15 August.

He quickly had to burn documents to protect thousands of Taliban targets, including his staff and the displaced he helps, and go into hiding.

Ghafoor feared that his work made him a target for the Taliban. He managed to flee on an evacuation flight to Germany with his family several days later.

“They were the most horrible experiences of my life,” Ghafoor said.

Displaced and unwanted

Ghafoor named Belgium and Austria among countries that were insisting on deportations until the Taliban had taken Kabul. But he added that the UK has been “very tough” on Afghan refugees.

Ghafoor said:

The UK has been very tough towards refugees, especially Afghan refugees…

Those who were deported and those I had a chance to meet… among them were people who actually had been granted asylum until they were 18.

As soon as they were 18, everything was ripped again from them – everything was taken and they were in limbo.

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Abdul Ghafoor fled Afghanistan in the week after Kabul fell (Abdul Ghafoor)

Ghafoor said those deported to Afghanistan are at a higher risk of being targeted by the Taliban:

Afghan returnees, among them you have Christian converts, atheists who have changed their religion…

To the Taliban… they are infidels.

Placing border control above human lives

Ghafoor said most European countries “including the UK” aren’t offering enough legal routes for refugees to travel to their countries. He added:

If you want to stop illegal migration let’s do it – but what’s your alternative? What legal or safer ways do you have for refugees?

Home Office statistics released this week show the UK has deported a total of 6,033 Afghan nationals since 2010. And 10 enforced returns have happened in the last 12 months.

Separate Home Office figures show 3,476 Afghan nationals have been refused entry at UK ports since 2010. These include 167 in the year to March 2021.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us