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Despite the trend of drastic increases in violence and growing threats to human rights across Afghanistan in 2016 and 2017, the European Union members forcibly repatriated 9,460 Afghan asylum seekers in their adoption of new migration policy, in 2016. Afghans who do not have their plea for international protection, which is recognized by Europe, are forced to return or undergo assisted voluntary return in the wake of growing insecurity and humanitarian aid crises. In fact, in Afghanistan, there is a frequent increase of insurgency attacks and the impunity with which both government and non-government actors can violate human rights with torture against its people.
On January 28th, the Taliban launched a suicide attack on the capital of Kabul, killing 95 people and injuring 158 others. This attack follows as one of the worst seen after the devastating suicide attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017, in which 150 civilians were killed. Although the international armed conflict has ended, Afghanistan is still riddled with violence as a result of various insurgency groups, including the likes of the Taliban and IS, seeking to oppose and subvert the present Afghan government in order to establish and occupy their own territory. In fact, the resulting instability has set the previous two years off with record-breaking amounts of violence and a high level of casualties. According to the United Nations, the number of civilians killed or injured by armed groups has reached 11,418.
Despite the staggering casualties, returns of refugees from Europe to Afghanistan have increased dramatically. Between 2015 and 2016 the number of Afghan citizens returned from the European countries to Afghanistan rose from 3,290 to 9,460 according to a report by Amnesty International.
The European Union’s insistence on delivering asylum seekers to a destabilized, volatile state comes as a result of the finding of The Joint Way Forward policy solution in response to the migration issues that Europe is currently facing. In 2015, Europe saw the arrival of over 1 million refugees seeking asylum, with 200,000 of those refugees fleeing Afghanistan, or an increasingly hostile Pakistan and Iran. The Joint Way Forward is a way for Europe to address its rising migration crises, and supposedly as a way for Afghanistan to work towards the integration of its displaced people.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan has been mostly pressured to accept the partnership in the implementation of The Joint Way Forward. The Afghan state sustains itself through international humanitarian aid contributions. In 2017 alone, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs cited the need for humanitarian assistance by 9.3 million Afghans. The European Union has proposed to provide humanitarian aid conditionally if Afghanistan offers its cooperation in the implementation of The Joint Way Forward.