On 11 August 2021, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), announced that it was stopping the return of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan, as the security situation in the country deteriorates.
SEM said it was stopping the return of failed asylum seekers until further notice. Only preparations for the expulsion of criminals would continue.
Sweden, Norway and Finland stopped deportations to Afghanistan in July 2021. Germany and the Netherlands stopped them this week.
The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated rapidly since US and other foreign forces began moving out of the country.
Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city in the south of the country was recently seized by Taliban fighters. The insurgent group now controls most of southern and northern Afghanistan and more than a third of its regional capitals. According to the UN, an estimated 1,000 civilians have been killed over the past month and around 270,000 have been newly displaced since January 2021 as they seek shelter in makeshift camps in areas not occupied by the Taliban, said the UN in July.
Switzerland returns few to Afghanistan. In 2019, 6 people were forced to return and 2 went voluntarily in 2021. SEM told the newspaper Le Temps that Switzerland had Europe’s highest rate of protection for Afghan refugees in 2020. 84% of those applying for asylum were granted full or provisional status.