Joint Annual Meeting on Situation of Afghan Refugees in Switzerland

On 16th January 2014, The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan held a joint annual meeting with authorizes of Federal Office of Migration in Bern, to oversee the situation of Afghan refugees in Switzerland.

Mr. Michel Morf, Deputy Head of the Return Division welcomed H.E Dr. Nangyalai Tarzi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UNOG and Mr. Obaidullah Zamani, First Secretary and Consul of Afghanistan Embassy and Permanent Mission in Geneva. Mr. Morf expressed his sincere appreciation to the Embassy of Afghanistan for its close cooperation with Federal Office of Migration on issues of Afghan refugees in Switzerland. The event was proceeded by a brief presentation on the new organizational structure of the Federal Office of Migration by Ambassador Urs Von Arb, Director of the International Cooperation, Mrs. Ursina Bernard, Head of the 3rd Countries and Africa of FoM and Mr. Rogar, Specialist of the return section.

Ambassador Tarzi in his concluding remarks thanked FoM for organizing the annual meeting and appreciated the contribution of the government and people of Switzerland to the reconstruction and stability of Afghanistan through its developmental and humanitarian projects.

Afghanistan and Switzerland Relations

Bilateral relations

The Government of Afghanistan first established diplomatic relations with the Government of Switzerland in 1928.The two governments concluded a treaty of friendship and regulated rights of settlement and residence. However, political and economic relations in the following decades remained low-key. By contrast, the foundation of the Bibliotheca Afghanica in Liestal (BL) in 1975 testifies to a strong interest in Afghan culture.

Until 1979, both countries maintained mutually cordial and friendly relations, in 1928 His Majesty King Amanullah Khan, the reformist monarch of Afghanistan had paid an official visit to Switzerland .


H.M. King Amanullah Khan & H.E.M.Schultess, President of the Swiss Confederation

1928 Bern, Switzerland

When Soviet troops marched into Afghanistan in 1979, the Federal Council expressed its concern. By then, Switzerland had also established diplomatic relations with the former Soviet Union. At the same time it supported the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for war victims. Even when the Taliban came to power, Switzerland did not sever diplomatic relations with the new government. However, Switzerland played a crucial role when International Peace Talks on Afghanistan were organized by the United Nations among the government of Dr. Najibullah, the Mujahideen, the US and the USSR and Pakistan .

In 2000 it also adopted the United Nations sanctions against the Taliban government but continued to finance humanitarian projects to alleviate the distress of the population.

In 2001, the Taliban government fell and Switzerland immediately increased its humanitarian commitment. In 2002 the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation opened a coordination office in Kabul . The Federal Council also decided that Swiss troops would participate in the UN mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan.