The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has released a new report claiming that, except for two provinces, Afghanistan is a safe country and Norway should continue deportations of Afghan failed asylum seekers.
The UDI, which is responsible for processing immigration claims and runs asylum centres in Norway, released the report this week claiming that only two provinces in Afghanistan are “generally unsafe” Verdens Gang reports.
The move comes after many pro-migrant activists across Europe have argued that Afghanistan has become unsafe for deportations of failed asylum seekers.
The UDI asserts that the two provinces that pose a potential danger for failed asylum seekers are Helmand and Nangarhar. The remaining 32 provinces are considered safe enough to return migrants to, according to the report.
The province of Nangarhar, which rests on the border with Pakistan, is considered dangerous because Islamic State forces have managed to gain a foothold, and Helmand province has long been a stronghold of the Taliban.
UDI Director Frode Forfang commented on the new report saying: “We have conducted a review of updated country information and, on that basis, reassessed the safety of the two provinces.” Mr. Forfang also noted that the chances of asylum seekers being caught up in the current conflict in the country were relatively low.
“I understand that many in Norway believe that Afghanistan is unsafe. But the insurgency attacks that take place in most parts of the country are directed chiefly against governmental goals, and are also linked to the international presence in Afghanistan,” he added.
Despite the UDI labelling the two provinces of Afghanistan as unsafe, Forfang said that it may not greatly impact deportations as asylum seekers can still be deported to safe parts of the country.
Deportations to Afghanistan have been of national debate in Germany and Sweden who have taken in the largest number of migrants per capita over the course of the migrant crisis. Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her government would begin to increase deportations to Afghanistan and other countries but the plans were met with heavy resistance from leftist groups.
Merkel set a goal of deporting 100,000 failed asylum seekers, but that seems more and more unlikely with her coalition partner and leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer admitting last week that mass deportations were likely “impossible“.
“The question of deportation is a great illusion in Germany. It is almost impossible to send back the migrants once they are in the country,” Seehofer said.