Called the “Taliban trick”, Afghan migrants who are scheduled to be deported are claiming to be members of the Taliban forcing police to open criminal investigations preventing their deportation.
The German government wants to deport thousands of Afghan nationals because they are failed asylum seekers and there may be yet another hurdle in the process. The Taliban are a proscribed group in Germany and being a member or supporter of them is a crime under German law.
Some Afghan migrants are seeing the law as a lifeline to prevent or delay their deportation as the police would have to investigate them for terror links, buying time for pro-asylum groups and left-wing politicians to halt the government’s policy, reports Die Welt.
While claiming to be a member of the Taliban could prevent deportation, it also has severe consequences for the asylum seekers who chose to claim terror links as penalties for membership can include 10 years’ imprisonment. Some Afghans have already told the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) that they were either voluntary members or had been forced into joining the group.
The State Criminal Police Offices (LKA) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) have both claimed that in recent weeks the number of Afghanis claiming ties to the Taliban has significantly increased. They say that despite the claims very few of the claimants have actual ties to the group and sufficient evidence to prosecute has only been gathered in a small number of cases.
Since October, the German government has managed to arrest three Afghan nationals with connections to the Taliban. The three men aged 17, 19, and 20 are said to have fought against government forces in Afghanistan and had received terrorist training by the Taliban. While they have been arrested the prosecutor is still amassing evidence and it is unclear whether they will be brought before a judge.
German prosecutors often have trouble coordinating with the government in Afghanistan to gather sufficient evidence to prosecute those who claim membership to the Taliban, but migrants are able to claim that as members of the Taliban they would face persecution and danger from the government or the Taliban and can likely be granted asylum in Germany.
The German government wants to deport some 12,500 Afghan nationals, but even on the first chartered flight Wednesday there were issues. Several hundred protesters crowded Frankfurt airport to demonstrate against the move. Of the 50 migrants meant to be sent back, only 34 arrived in Kabul as 16 were not allowed on the aircraft because they were not men.
Germany has also had its problems with Afghan asylum seekers like Hussein K. who raped and murdered student Maria Ladenburger and another Afghan migrant who tried to kill multiple people on a train earlier this year with an axe in Würzburg.