While the small groups of Syrian refugees crossing into the US this week via Texas presented themselves to authorities legally, Afghans trying to get into Europe have resorted to Taliban threats – nearly all of which have been revealed as fake.
The Associated Press reports that of all the Taliban threat letters presented by asylum seekers to authorities, only about 1% are authentic. The photo above shows a forged letter received Friday, November 13th. The document is believed to have been written in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
“Threatening letters from the Taliban, once tantamount to a death sentence, are now being forged and sold to Afghans who want to start a new life in Europe,” AP reports. While authentic letters “were traditionally sent to those alleged to have worked with Afghan security forces or US-led troops, listing their ‘crimes’ and warning that a ‘military commission’ would decide on their punishment,” the fake letters are harmless. Those selling are “doing a brisk business as tens of thousands of Afghans flee to Europe, hoping to claim asylum. Forgers say a convincing threat letter can go for up to $1,000.”
“To this day I have only ever known one guy who genuinely got a threat letter from the Taliban. All the rest are fake,” says Mukhamil, an Afghan who has forged and sold at least 20 false threats. The country of Afghanistan currenty faces a 24% unemployment rate. The government predicts that 160,000 Afghans will flee the country by the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, Germany continues to struggle under the crushing tide of refugees. The country has long been a supporter of Afghanistan and currently has over 900 soldiers stationed there. Germany’s top security official complains that Afghans are even fleeing areas of the country that are relatively safe. The number of people coming to Germany from those areas is “unacceptable,” he stated last month.
German officials aren’t worried about the fake threat letters. “Such documents are assessed in the context of examining the credibility of the overall account of the applicant,” says Susanne Eikemeier, spokeswoman for Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. “While they can be drawn on as evidence of a threat by the Taliban, the applicant’s entire account has to be coherent, comprehensible, and credible.”
Even the Taliban has admitted that most of the letters are false. “All these so-called Taliban threat letters are fake. We are trying to provide a good environment for our youth to remain in their country,” says Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. There have been no arrests associated with forged letters.