Socialist Worker

West plots to deport Afghan refugees back to warzone

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2524

A child from one of the refugee camps in Kabul

A child from one of the refugee camps in Kabul (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Western governments and their allies are conniving to send Afghan refugees back to a warzone.

The European Union (EU) announced on Wednesday that it had struck deal with the Afghan government to send back as many as 80,000 asylum seekers.

The announcement came alongside £3 billion a year in aid for Afghanistan—and unconvincing denials that the deportations were the price of the cash.

Afghan refugees in Paris and their supporters marched on the Afghan Embassy on Wednesday.

They chanted in the Dari and Pashtun languages, “We won’t go” and “Down with the signatories of the agreement! Down with those who send people back!”

One refugee said, “The people who came to Europe have lost everything they had. They have come to Europe because Afghanistan is at war.

“I’m 26, and I’ve known 16 years of war.”

He pointed out that rich Afghan politicians could send their families abroad, but ordinary Afghans were being sent back.

He poured scorn on the claim that Afghanistan was now at peace. “I would love to see peace in Afghanistan and so would everyone here,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of agreements. They don’t bring peace.

“If I don’t see peace, I won’t go back.

“Do you want to play games with our lives? Do you want to make us go back so we can be killed by the Taliban, Isis or the US?”

The war in Afghanistan continues to rage, with the Taliban group controlling more territory than at any time since 2001 after a summer of clashes.


The United Nations said over 5,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of this year—the worst six month period since it started counting.

The deal allows for unlimited deportations. It could include tens of thousands blocked in Greece by EU border closures. The German government is looking at deporting over half the 80,000 Afghan asylum seekers in the country.

Both sides are considering building an extra terminal at Kabul airport to take in deportation flights.

The Torkham border passing between Afghanistan and Pakistan has already become busy with refugees being driven back. More than 100,000 of the 2.5 million Afghans in Pakistan have been forcibly displaced this year.

Mohammed Hakim Yousafi spoke to Al Jazeera when he returned in August after almost a decade in Pakistan. “I don't have food, water or shelter at the moment,” he said.

“I am back to a conflict zone. My life is back to zero after years of making a living in Pakistan and working hard.”

Britain is ahead of the racist curve. Theresa Man, then home secretary, won in March her legal fight to overturn a ban on deporting Afghans. It was brought in the year before by lawyers for “HN”, who faced deportation eight years after arriving in Britain as a lone 14-year-old child.

Afghan was the second biggest source of asylum seekers in Britain last year and is one of the world’s biggest sources of refugees.

Even if its conflict ended, they would have every right to build new lives in the West. Instead they are being driven back to a hell the West created.

Stand Up To Racism conference, Saturday 8th October, 10.30am-4.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Rd, NW1 2BJ. Register to reserve your place here 

Socialist Worker’s photographer Guy Smallman has produced an exhibition and book, The Displaced, of photographs of internally displaced people in Afghanistan. It launches on Tuesday 18 October, 7-8:30pm, Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

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