Help Afghanistan, deport refugees?

The international community has pledged to give Afghanistan 13.6 billion euros in aid over the next few years. The representatives of 70 donor countries agreed on the plan at a conference on Wednesday. In return Kabul has been asked to tackle corruption and do more for human rights - and also to take back thousands of refugees. Commentators take a critical view of this last point even though they welcome the deal as a whole.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

It is our duty to help

Afghanistan doesn't just need money but also more serious diplomatic or military efforts than those undertaken in the last three years, Deutschlandfunk admonishes:

“The honest thing to do would be for the German government, Berlin, Brussels and Washington to finally admit that they left the country to its own devices far too soon. Militarily and financially. It was already clear in 2013 what this would mean for the Afghans. … So it would be honest to say that [today's] refugees are also our refugees. And therefore it is our duty to take care of them. … To prevent the country from (slowly) sinking into chaos, either serious peace talks with the Taliban are necessary or the West must fundamentally revise its strategy. And - although it seems barely viable politically - renew its commitment.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Refugees as bargaining chips

Taking back refugees appears to be one of the items on the list of things Kabul is expected to do in return for help, Corriere della Sera notes indignantly:

“It is without doubt good news that the international community wants to provide 15 billion dollars for the development of Afghanistan and to promote the country's difficult peace process. It is even better news that the EU is spearheading these efforts and thus throwing its weight behind a good cause. But precisely for this reason one should avoid arousing any suspicions about its commitment, because at exactly the same time the EU and Afghanistan have signed an agreement on the repatriation of refugees that even includes the construction of a special terminal at Kabul airport. … To treat people who are fleeing war and persecution like bargaining chips does no credit to those who propose this kind of agreement.”