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Germany is against cooperation with the Taliban in deporting violent offenders


Germany’s Foreign Ministry warned on Friday against cooperating with Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in the deportation of Afghan perpetrators, saying such a move would cause the Islamist government to seek international recognition.

“The Taliban will want any repatriations to be paid for at least through international recognition,” a spokesperson for Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in Berlin.

“And it is a fact that the German government neither recognizes nor cooperates with the de facto Taliban government in Afghanistan, just like any other country in the world.” In individual cases there is only sporadic contact “on a technical level”.

Following a fatal knife attack in Mannheim in which a police officer was stabbed to death by an Afghan, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he planned to allow the deportation of serious criminals to Afghanistan and Syria again. Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser is currently investigating this.

The Taliban had previously shown an openness to cooperation in hosting Afghan criminals and dangerous individuals.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on the German authorities to resolve the matter within the framework of normal consular relations and an appropriate mechanism based on a bilateral agreement,” wrote Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Kahar Balchi, Friday on X.

Since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul in August 2021, Germany has imposed a deportation ban on Afghans.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson said deportations do not lead to impunity for criminals in Germany.

“In murder cases in Germany this means a minimum of ten years in prison before deportation can be considered after this prison sentence.”

Germany has not sent anyone back to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over in August 2021. Even before then, the agreement was that only men – mainly criminals and those considered terrorist threats – would be forcibly returned due to the difficult security situation.

Critics warn against talks with the Taliban, who are currently internationally isolated.

Green Party representatives oppose both the deportation of Afghans to Afghanistan and cooperation with the Taliban.

“Any expulsion and any deportation to Afghanistan requires cooperation with this Islamist terrorist regime and thus effectively recognizes the Taliban,” German human rights commissioner and Greens party member Luise Amtsberg told taz newspaper in an interview published online on Friday.

Green party member Julian Pahlke described Scholz’s announcement as “unrealistic” and legally unrealizable.

According to Afghanistan expert Thomas Ruttig, co-founder of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the Taliban could benefit from deportations by using them as an opportunity to collaborate with a Western state, which could be seen as a boost to their reputation.

The German refugee organization Pro Asyl has condemned Scholz’s initiative.

“International law clearly prohibits any deportation to Afghanistan and Syria,” Karl Kopp, director of Pro Asyl, told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper in a comment published Friday.

Kopp described Scholz’s proposed plans as unlawful, because “both countries are known for their use of torture and inhumane punishment.”

A diversion via Afghanistan’s neighbors such as Pakistan is also currently being considered by the German government.

However, the Taliban reject this possibility. Extraditions to other countries would be a violation of current treaties, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized in a statement.

So far, no country has officially recognized the Taliban government. Western states require that human rights, especially women’s rights, are respected in the country before recognition is granted.

Annalena Baerbock, the German Foreign Minister, speaks in the plenary session of the Bundestag on the topic of the deployment of the German Armed Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Sabina Crisan/dpa

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