Interior ministers of the federal states: Federal program for Afghanistan required

Status: 08/18/2021 4:33 p.m.

More than 200 people from Afghanistan have arrived in Germany so far. But in Kabul more people are hoping to leave the country. In order to provide for them, the state interior ministers have now called for a federal admission program.

Many people still want to leave Afghanistan out of fear of the Taliban. So far, with German help, only 202 Afghan citizens have been able to leave the country, according to the Federal Foreign Ministry.

After landing, they described chaotic and dramatic scenes at the airport in Kabul. Although they are safe, they are worried about those who stayed at home, reported passengers flown out after landing in Frankfurt am Main.

“The capacities are available”

In order to provide for more people, the interior ministers of the federal states have now asked the Federal Interior Ministry to start a federal admission program for refugees from Afghanistan. In doing so, they followed a proposal from Lower Saxony.

“Preparations have already started and the capacities are available,” said Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius. He is in “close and good talks” with the Bundeswehr and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. “When the people have arrived in Germany, the federal government can rely on us as states to take on local staff, but also other vulnerable groups,” said the SPD politician. A federal admission program is now the faster and more effective solution than individual state admission programs.

Help also for human and women’s rights activists

He is thinking in particular of those who worked for German development institutions, NGOs and similar initiatives, but also of journalists or people who campaign for human and women’s rights. In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of the Interior, Thomas Strobl (CDU), demanded help if former German local workers were threatened, as well as other people at risk, such as women’s rights activists. “Our clear expectation is that this federal admission program will now be implemented quickly,” said Strobl.

The Interior Ministers’ Conference is scheduled to meet with Federal Interior Minister Seehofer for another special session on Thursday.

Five million refugees? Opposition from the ministry

It is unclear how many refugees from Afghanistan will arrive in Germany. At a briefing for the Bundestag parliamentary group leaders on Monday, Seehofer said that 300,000 to five million Afghans could flee – without it becoming clear where these numbers come from and what the goal of these people is.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior has now distanced itself from these figures. “That is not the assessment of the BMI,” said a ministry spokesman. When asked, a spokeswoman emphasized that due to the dynamic development, “no reliable forecast” on the scale of migration is currently possible. In the past, most Afghan refugees found shelter in neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran instead of traveling to Europe.

European initiative?

How to deal with refugees from Afghanistan is also being discussed at European level: The Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called on the EU states to agree on refugee quotas as quickly as possible. “We need quotas for refugees from Afghanistan who can legally come to Europe,” Asselborn told the editorial network Germany.

“Everyone has to help. So that people don’t get back into the hands of smugglers and have to fear for their lives.” In view of the huge humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, “the EU states must finally send out a signal that we are ready to help the people,” he said.

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