‘Afghan Roulette’ UK, France Accidentally Evacuate Security Risk Individuals

TOPSHOT - Afghan people gather as they wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

The French government admitted on Monday that it has repatriated an Afghani man and his four relatives despite being aware of intelligence that he was connected to the Taliban, with similar security failures witnessed in the UK.

As nations across Europe grapple with increased security concerns over the evacuation of asylum seekers from Afghanistan following President Joe Biden’s disastrous military withdrawal from the country, the French government has been accused of helping the Taliban establish a “fifth column” in the nation.

On Monday, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin admitted: “Even if this person greatly assisted in the evacuation of the French embassy, ​​we believe that he may be linked to the Taliban.”

The leader of the populist right-wing National Rally (RN) Marine Le Pen, who is challenging President Emmanuel Macron in next year’s election, wrote: “The “duty” of welcoming France takes a back seat when the security of the French is threatened. This imperative makes sense [to everyone] except for the Government!”

French MEP for the RN, Gilbert Collard accused the government of playing “Afghan roulette”, warning that the idea of welcoming everyone from Afghanistan puts the nation at “huge risk”.

Even those on the more centre-right in France have been critical of the repatriation of the Taliban-linked Afghan national.

National Assembly member for The Republicans (LR) party, Éric Ciotti said: “The risk of the fifth column is there. The Taliban can send their soldiers to France in the flood of refugees,” adding that the government should seek “to control repatriations much more strictly”.

Similar problems have been facing other countries in Europe amid the hasty withdrawal efforts, with the UK government admitting that they allowed a person on the no-fly list onto a Royal Air Force (RAF) flight. Security services later claimed that the man was no longer deemed to be a threat.

An additional four people on the no-fly list were allowed to board an RAF flight in Kabul, however, they were removed from the plane before it took off.

James Heappey, Britain’s Armed Forces Minister warned that radical Islamists were “trying to take advantage” of the chaos surrounding the bungled US withdrawal to enter the UK.

“One of the most remarkable things about what our troops are doing is they know that there is the real threat of a suicide bomber or some other sort of threat or attack,” he said.

“That means that with one hand they have to have their finger on the trigger, and in the other hand, they’re holding people’s babies,” Heappey added.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace attempted to downplay the risk from those on the no-fly list, saying that the list is “not as straightforward as fly, no-fly” and that it occasionally means some people are required to go through more checks.

Germany has also been facing problems vetting fleeing Afghanis, with an Army captain accusing bureaucrats in Berlin of creating a dysfunctional system.

“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn´t. Sometimes a person who was never on a list is let through, sometimes a person who has been on our lists or those of the military command for six weeks is still turned away,” Cpt. Marcus Grotian said.

Europe is also bracing for a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis, with eastern EU nations, such as Poland, Lithuania, and Greece erecting border walls in preparation for possible waves of Afghani migrants attempting to flood into the bloc. Estimates have predicted that as many as three million Afghans could head to Europe in short order, a number that would swamp the 1.2 million who arrived in the 2015 migrant crisis.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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