The first illegal migrants to be deported jointly by Britain and France have arrived in Afghanistan. It’s part of a bitterly contested crackdown on immigration. Two dozen were put on a flight from London; three more joined them in Paris. In Kabul some said they had no idea what they were going to do.
At Paris airport human rights groups led protests against a policy they say is inhumane. One campaigner said France was forcibly sending home people who would have little choice but to be harmed or recruited by the Taliban. But the policy’s architect, the former socialist immigration minister Eric Besson, insisted that those going home were not in danger: “The sole fact that the country of origin is at war does not bring a residence permit in any developed country in the world. These measures only concern people from towns near Kabul – they’re not from areas affected by insurrections in the south of the country.” France has become a launch pad for many migrants desperate to reach neighbouring Britain. The two countries – both contributors of troops to Afghanistan – have been increasing co-operation to control immigration.