The Home Office must face facts – sending people back to Afghanistan leaves them open to an uncertain fate

Editorial: It is certainly true that Afghanistan is quieter than it was, but there is still fighting and unrest – and the constant threat that the country will implode

Thursday 07 October 2021 21:30
<p>Taliban fighters patrol a neighbourhood in Kabul </p>

Taliban fighters patrol a neighbourhood in Kabul

A casual observer, on reading the new Home Office guidance on sending refugees back to Afghanistan, might assume that the country had been miraculously transformed into some sort of liberal paradise, and that the western mission there, far from ending in humiliating retreat, had indeed rebuilt the nation.

According to notes issued by the immigration office, deporting asylum seekers back to Afghanistan presents “no real risk of harm” – which will be news to anyone who has followed reports emanating from the country over the years.

It is run, after all, by the Taliban, whose reputation goes before them. Living there, or trying to, presents a real risk of harm to anyone, including – if reports are to believed –the various warring factions within the Taliban’s own leadership. It is unlikely, at any rate, that any of the British civil servants making such life-and-death decisions will be asking Thomas Cook to arrange a ten-day adventure break in Helmand province.

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