Finland halts deportations to Afghanistan

Finland halts deportations to Afghanistan over concerns following Taliban's rapid territorial gains
2 min read
The Finnish Immigration Service said "the issuing of negative decisions that involve removal from the country to Afghanistan" was paused on July 9, as the Taliban makes rapid territorial gains across the country.
Asylum seekers will not automatically be given approval to stay in Finland, rather they will have to wait longer for a decision [Getty]

Finland said on Monday it would pause decisions on deportations to Afghanistan to assess the deteriorating security situation. 

Afghan officials have urged all European countries to stop deportations for three months, as security forces battle a wave of violence triggered by a Taliban offensive. 

The Finnish Immigration Service said "the issuing of negative decisions that involve removal from the country to Afghanistan" had been paused on July 9. 

No further decisions would be taken until an assessment was completed, the service said. 

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Immigration official Jaakko Purontie told local media asylum seekers would not automatically be given approval to stay, rather they would have to wait longer for a decision. 

The service has about 350 applications pending for Afghans. 

The strife-torn country is facing a crisis as the insurgents snap up territory across the countryside, stretching government forces and leading to a fresh wave of internally displaced families, complicated by a renewed outbreak of Covid-19. 

On Friday, the Taliban claimed to be in control of 85 percent of the country after seizing key border crossings. 

The spike in violence comes as the US and international forces are withdrawing from the country, and US President Joe Biden said Friday that the US military mission would end on August 31 - nearly 20 years after it began - having "achieved" its goals. 

But he admitted it was "highly unlikely" Kabul would be able to control the entire country.