France Facing New Wave of Ultra-Conservative Migrants from Afghanistan

Asylum seekers, mainly from Afghanistan, stand by their tents at a makeshift migrant camp

France faces a new wave of asylum seekers from Afghanistan, with many coming from conservative areas and some openly supporting groups like the Taliban.

Over the last five years, the number of Afghans arriving in France has increased fivefold from just over 2,100 asylum seekers at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015 to nearly 10,000 reaching in the country last year.

According to a report from Le Figaro, Afghan migrants made up 90 per cent of the 3,500 residents of a makeshift migrant camp in the north of Paris that authorities dismantled just weeks ago.

“While waiting for their asylum application to be considered, or after a refusal, many traffic cigarettes or drugs in an attempt to meet their needs,” a police source told the French newspaper.

While previously many of the Afghans coming to France were political refugees from urban areas, the latest migrants arriving are mostly Pashtuns from rural villages along the border with Pakistan, a Taliban stronghold area. Many are simply economic migrants, looking for a better life.

According to researcher Karim Pakzad, the new migrants “are radicalised. They are imbued with a very conservative, very retrograde Islam, where violence against women is considered normal.”

“They are often in favour of the Taliban. For them, it is unthinkable, for example, to caricature the Prophet Mohammed,” he added.

The showing of cartoons of Mohammed was the cited motivation for the Chechen teen refugee, Abdoullakh Anzorov, to kill teacher Samuel Paty in October, beheading him in the street.

Just weeks after Paty’s murder, an Afghan teen was indicted in Marseille after praising the terrorist attack, saying he would have done the same as the Chechen terrorist.

“Thousands of Afghan refugees go from one country to another, living in hiding, with no hope of improving their situation. This way of life is a time bomb for France and Europe,” Mr Pakzad said.

Afghan migrants have been involved in many violent crimes in France in recent years, including an incident in a suburb of Lyon last year when a 33-year-old Afghan man stabbed one person to death and injured nine others outside a subway station.

Earlier this year, a 20-year-old Afghan man admitted to beating a pro-migrant activist to death while the 63-year-old was sleeping in his home.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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