The federal government continues to fly persecuted Afghans and former local Afghan workers and their families to Germany. On average, “about 200 Afghans per week are brought into Germany from Pakistan alone,” according to the Foreign Office’s Funke media group newspaper. Thus, people will continue to leave the country regularly via Iran.
According to the Federal Foreign Office, since the Taliban took power last August, Germany’s visa office has been able to issue “more than 18,000 visas to local staff, especially vulnerable people who have received commitments from the federal government, and their family members”. . In early 2022 alone, some 5,000 people without passports were supported within two months of leaving Afghanistan by land and then on their onward journey to Germany.
The federal government’s efforts to evacuate local workers have been heavily criticized from the start. In light of the war in Ukraine, pro-asylum legal expert Wiebke Judith warned not to forget local troops and their relatives in Afghanistan. These people, who worked for previous governments or Western organizations before the Taliban took power, “are still many in this country and are in danger of death,” the lawyer said, with a view to a conference of federal and state interior ministers starting in Würzburg. . on Wednesday.
Nearly 5,000 people are apparently still waiting for visa appointments
Just a week ago it became known that thousands of Afghans were still waiting for appointments to apply for German visas for family reunification. Nearly 5,000 people are currently registered with the visa offices in charge of the German embassies in Islamabad, Pakistan and Delhi, India, according to a response from the federal government to questions from Left Bundestag member Clara Bünger. The waiting time is more than a year. Especially for women traveling alone, it is difficult to leave Afghanistan altogether.
Since the visa office in the Afghan capital Kabul was closed in 2017, visas for family reunification can be applied for at embassies in Delhi and Islamabad. According to the federal government, 3,455 Afghans are registered for appointments in Islamabad and about 1,500 in Delhi. To facilitate the procedure, the visa office was instructed to “extensively exercise discretionary powers,” said the response from the federal government. For example, the time-consuming process of checking documents has been suspended.
The Federal Foreign Office has also started sending some applications to Germany for processing. Among other things, a new position must be created in the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs. According to the federal government, another hurdle is leaving Afghanistan and thus keeping the deadline for applying for visas. As before, the Taliban will not allow anyone to leave the country without a passport. Several neighboring countries have also restricted entry to Afghans.
The Taliban has severely restricted women’s rights and has also increasingly cracked down on human rights activists, media representatives and former Western military personnel. Bunger, who is the parliamentary group’s spokesman for refugee policy, welcomed efforts to accelerate family reunification. “But all of this came too late and too late,” he explained. The long waiting times are “unacceptable in all respects, especially for women, whose situation has deteriorated so much since the Taliban took power.” As a rule, those affected have the right to family reunification.
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