Taliban would take back Europe’s Afghan deportees to face courts

Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman talks with journalists during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, 17 August 2021. [Stringer/EPA/EFE]

The Taliban government in Afghanistan would accept any Afghan migrants whose applications for asylum were rejected in Europe and they would then face court, an Austrian newspaper quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying on Monday (30 August).

Austria’s conservative-led government has taken a hard line on Afghan asylum seekers and refugees within the European Union, with the interior minister initially saying Austria should keep deporting rejected asylum seekers back to Afghanistan for as long as possible.

Between Belarus and Afghanistan, an EU dispute is looming over migration

EU member states, nervous about a replay of Europe’s 2015-16 migration crisis and a surge of Afghan migrants, agreed on Wednesday (18 August) they need to strengthen their external borders.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has since conceded that that is no longer possible, but said he wants “deportation centres” set up in neighbouring countries that would take them in.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the Kronen Zeitung newspaper that his government would be willing to accept such deportees.

“Yes. They would be taken to court. The court would then have to decide how to proceed with them,” Zabihullah told the newspaper when asked if it would take in Afghan asylum seekers in Germany or Austria whose asylum claims had been rejected or who had committed crimes in those European countries.

He did not elaborate on why they should be taken to court or what judgement they might face there.

He also repeated his government’s pledge to respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law, or Sharia.

“We will secure all rights that women are entitled to under Sharia,” Zabihullah said.

“We will grant women Islamic rights, enable education and create conditions for work. We are in the process of putting all that in place.”

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