Afghanistan Fallout Could Lead to Three Million Migrants Trying to Reach Europe

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 10 : Displaced Afghans reach out for aid from a local Muslim o
Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

German humanitarian development worker Sybille Schnehage has predicted as many as three million Afghan asylum seekers could head to Europe in the near future.

Ms Schnehage, who has been involved in humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan since the 1980s and has been working with the Katachel association in the Kunduz region for over 20 years, told German broadcaster WDR on Sunday: “We can assume that up to three million Afghans will make their way to Europe in the foreseeable future.”

The aid worker continued: “I always ask people: Why don’t you go to Saudi Arabia? They are Muslims. This is your culture. The answer is always: No, Germany is better.

“So, we absolutely have to support the Afghans to build a future in rural areas. If not, the consequences for Germany and Europe are foreseeable.”

According to Schnehage, the main issue in Afghanistan is the neglect of rural communities. “When the international community came in 2002, it pumped a lot of money into the country. However, much of it went to the Afghan government and from there ended up in the pockets of the elites,” she said.

“Investments may have been made in the cities, but nothing has arrived in the countryside. Young people have no jobs, no money, and no prospects,” she noted and added that rapid population growth along with poverty “paralyses any positive development in the country”.

If the predicted three million Afghans did migrate to Europe, the movement could potentially dwarf even the Europe Migrant Crisis of 2015, when a remarkable 1.2 million people arrived in the continent, setting the stage for a new Europe Migrant Crisis in coming years.

Schnehage is not the only one sounding the alarm on a possible new wave of asylum seekers from Afghanistan. Mikael Ribbenvik, the head of the Swedish Migration Board, has stated that he expects an increase in Afghan migrants trying to reach Europe.

“When the pressure increases in one country and more people flee, then more people will try to get to Europe and thus Sweden,” Ribbenvik said on Monday, according to Aftonbladet, but added that he did not think the continent will see a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis.

“We believe that this is very unlikely to happen. What happened in 2015 was that all countries had open borders. We do not foresee that happening again,” Ribbenvik said and added: “We believe that the scenario that can happen is what is happening right now. Afghanistan is being thrown into a very precarious situation and regardless of the scenario, it will be very bad.”

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), around five million people in Afghanistan have been internally displaced due to the Taliban insurgency sweeping the country.

As the situation deteriorates and the Taliban continues to make territorial gains, several countries, including Sweden, have halted deportations to Afghanistan.

Others, such as Austria, have had at least one Afghan migrant deportation rejected by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) due to the security situation.

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


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