There have been migrants from Afghanistan in Germany for many decades.

The first big wave came after the Soviet invasion in 1979;

They currently form the second largest group of asylum seekers in Germany.

For this reason alone, it is not unlikely that more Afghans will make their way to Germany after the return of the Taliban.

It is an old experience that migrants go where their compatriots are already because they find it easier to connect there.

However, it is completely unclear what order of magnitude and what time period can be expected. Only the influx via the Bundeswehr airlift is halfway calculable and controllable. However, this is only intended for local staff and selected people in need of protection. This way out is not open to the vast majority of the Afghan population. All that remains is the long land route that leads via Iran and Turkey. Some people are on this route for years. So it could be a while before Europe starts to feel the effects of the upheaval in Kabul on its borders.

The numbers are even more difficult to estimate.

The United Nations reports that by early August, 390,000 Afghans had left their villages and towns because of skirmishes but remained in Afghanistan.

The fighting has now ended for the time being, and there are reports that internally displaced persons from the capital Kabul wanted to return to their villages.

Pakistan is building a border fence

An estimate of Afghans leaving their country is available from the International Organization for Migration.

At the beginning of August there were about 30,000 a week.

Both numbers are not reliable indicators of future developments.

However, they show that the latest developments are having an impact on the escape process.

So one should keep an eye on the situation.

The Chancellor and most of the German politicians who have spoken out publicly on the issue want refugees to stay in the region. 2015 should not be repeated, is the catchphrase. Probably nobody in Berlin would like to experience a loss of control over the borders and over immigration again, despite all current humanitarian assurances. That is basically correct. The political and material costs of the refugee crisis were high.

However, it is easier said than done that Afghans seeking protection should stay in neighboring countries in case of doubt.

There are already many Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran in particular.

In Pakistan, where some of them have lived for generations, the government has already declared that the country's absorption capacity is exhausted.

She is building a border fence.

Iran is setting up camps in the border provinces, but wants to send the Afghans back to their homeland as soon as the situation there has eased.

No natural allies

So one cannot assume that these two governments will comply with the German wishes of their own accord.

Berlin and the EU would have to enter into negotiations with two countries that are not natural allies of the West.

There has long been a dispute with Iran over the nuclear program; Despite its key position in Afghanistan, Pakistan is mostly overlooked by European diplomacy. A lot of money would probably be the lowest price we would have to pay for a compromise.

It doesn't look much different further west. Turkey does not want to take in any more refugees either, which is why Erdogan is building a wall on the border with Iran. The Turkish President has a lot of experience in getting Europe to make concessions on the migration issue. He has already received billions from Brussels for sheltering Syrian refugees. He is likely to pay dearly for expanding cooperation to Afghans, possibly with political advantages. An acceleration of the EU accession negotiations has long been on Ankara's wish list.

Looking at the political situation in the EU, one can only hope that if the worst comes to the worst, it will be possible to reach an agreement with these three countries. The Member States are just as divided on the issue of migration as they were six years ago. A distribution of refugees, which the overwhelmed Germans always think of as a last resort, is unlikely to succeed. And it is not certain that Greece and the countries on the Balkan route will keep the borders closed if the rush should get too big.

Cooperation with countries of origin and transit countries was once considered the royal road of German and European refugee policy. The collapse of Afghanistan shows that it cannot be relied on. In a world marked by migration and conflict, Berlin and Brussels no longer have many options. In the end, all that could be left is to further restrict access to Europe.

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