Germany has threatened to halt aid to Afghanistan if the country cannot curb the flow of its citizens to Germany. The Feb. 2 announcement comes as many Germans are frustrated over the continuing migration of refugees from Afghanistan despite their country’s security assistance.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere made Germany’s demands clear while visiting Afghanistan, reports The Local.
“We’re staying here as long as it’s necessary. But we also expect that the Afghan population stays here,” said de Maiziere. “We want the influx of refugees to be stopped.”
The interior minister warned Afghans against emigrating to Germany with unreasonably high hopes.
“There is no welcome money in Germany. There is no guarantee of a job or an apartment,” de Maiziere told German outlet ZDF, reports The Local.
During de Maziere’s trip to Afghanistan, a suicide bomber attack killed more than 20 people in Kabul. The interior minister had emphasized during his visit that areas of the country remain safe.
“There are still many (safe) provinces in the north. But also inside areas that aren’t so stable, there are safe areas,” said de Maiziere.
Social media users unleashed criticism of the German interior minister, claiming he was attempting to send refugees back to an unsafe country.
According to one Twitter user, “De Maiziere is demanding from others that they live in a land that he’ll only visit with the protection of a division of soldiers.”
Germany is currently struggling to manage the unprecedented influx of more than 1 million migrants and refugees that immigrated to the country in 2015, reports New York Magazine. The migrants are generally fleeing poverty and violence in embattled countries, and risk a life-threatening journey to reach Europe.
Syrians constitute the largest group of migrants who have sought refuge in Germany, as Afghans make up the second largest group.
The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees counted 150,000 refugees from Afghanistan in 2015. Roughly 9,700 Afghans immigrated to Germany in 2014.
De Maziere has vowed to increase deportations of Afghans from Germany, and said he was considering the possibility of using charter planes to fly migrants out of the country.