Mid-December 2016 saw the first collective deportation of 34 rejected Afghan asylum seekers from Germany to Kabul – the first of many. Germany halted the flights in late May 2017, but has now restarted them.
By the planeload
On September 12, a flight is scheduled to leave Düsseldorf airport for Afghanistan, carrying 15 rejected asylum seekers in what is the first group deportation to the country since a deadly car bomb blast near the German embassy in Kabul in late May. The opposition Greens and Left party slammed the resumption of deportations to Afghanistan as "cynical."
Fighting for a chance
In March, high school students in Cottbus made headlines with a campaign to save three Afghan classmates from deportation. They demonstrated, collected signatures for a petition and raised money for an attorney to contest the teens' asylum rejections - safe in the knowledge that their friends, among them Wali (above), can not be deported as long as proceedings continue.
'Kabul is not safe'
"Headed toward deadly peril," this poster reads at a demonstration in Munich airport in February. Protesters often show up at German airports where the deportations take place. Several collective deportations left Germany in December 2016, and between January and May 2017. So far this year, the German government has sent back 261 people to Afghanistan.
From Würzburg to Kabul
Badam Haidari, in his mid-30s, spent seven years in Germany before he was deported to Afghanistan in January. He had previously worked for USAID in Afghanistan and fled the Taliban, whom he still fears years later – hoping that he will be able to return to Germany after all.
In January, authorities deported Afghan Hindu Samir Narang to Kabul from Hamburg, where he had lived with his family for four years. Afghanistan, the young man told German public radio, "is not safe." Minorities from Afghanistan who return because asylum is denied face religious persecution in the Muslim country. Deportation to Afghanistan is "life-threatening" to Samir, says change.org.
Rejected asylum seekers deported from Germany to Kabul, with 20 euros in their pockets from the German authorities to tide them over at the start, can turn to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for assistance. Funded by the German Foreign Office, members of the IPSO international psychosocial organization counsel the returnees.