Annalena Baerbock, Germany's foreign minister, has announced a halt to Afghan admission procedures | Photo : Picture-alliance
Annalena Baerbock, Germany's foreign minister, has announced a halt to Afghan admission procedures | Photo : Picture-alliance

Germany has temporarily stopped processing admission applications from Afghan nationals because of alleged attempts to abuse the system.

Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, has announced a temporary halt to the admissions procedures for Afghan nationals.

The decision was announced late Wednesday and was to apply with immediate effect, the German news agency dpa reports. Procedures were to be suspended at German embassies in the Pakistani capital Islamabad and the Iranian capital Tehran.

According to diplomatic sources in Berlin, following "isolated indications of possible attempts at abuse" in recent weeks, the German Foreign Office and the Interior Ministry investigated the procedures at the Islamabad Embassy. They agreed to introduce an additional security questionnaire within a few days, at which time visa procedures for Afghans would resume.

No details were available about the reported efforts to abuse the system.

44,000 Afghans promised admission

The German government says that since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, German missions abroad have issued more than 28,600 visas for Germany to Afghan nationals. Among them are around 4,100 Afghans who were working locally for the German armed forces and aid organizations (locally-employed staff).

To date, around 30,000 people from Afghanistan have been admitted to Germany, including former locally-employed staff and people deemed to be at particularly high risk, and their immediate families. In total, the German government has promised more than 44,000 Afghans admission to Germany.

The German office of national statistics, Destatis, announced Thursday (March 30) that 286,000 Afghan nationals arrived and were registered in the country last year. The largest number of refugees to be registered in Germany in 2022 were Ukrainians (1.01 million), followed by Syrians (674,000).

Leaving Afghanistan

The German military left Afghanistan in June 2021, earlier than originally planned and three months before the militant Taliban seized power. Since the withdrawal of foreign forces, former locally-employed staff and human rights activists have been targeted by the Taliban.

Women in particular have been subject to persecution under the Taliban, causing Finland, Sweden and Denmark to grant automatic refugee status to all Afghan women and girls. In November 2021, the UN mission in Afghanistan reported that the country had one of the highest rates of violence against women globally. Girls also suffer further restrictions such as being banned from attending school beyond grade six, while earlier this year women were barred from attending universities.

Also read: Taliban blocking Afghan evacuations to Germany

The German government vowed in December 2021 to make admission and entry to Germany easier for Afghans considered especially at risk and to reduce the hurdles to obtaining a visa, including for those applying for family reunification visas. However, the government has been criticized for acting too slowly to bring people at risk of persecution to safety.

With dpa


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