A deportation aircraft bound for Afghanistan in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016 | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/B.Roessler
A deportation aircraft bound for Afghanistan in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016 | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/B.Roessler

In 2018 the number of Afghans sent back to Afghanistan from Germany more than doubled compared with the number in 2017. The information emerged from the German government in response to a request from the left-wing party, Die Linke.

Repatriations to Afghanistan have been the subject of fierce debate. Critics of deportations to Afghanistan argue that the country should not be considered a safe country for repatriations due to the bomb attacks, kidnappings and the number of unregistered weapons in circulation. But some parts of the country are considered safe and, since the end of 2016, Germany has been organizing charter flights to fly those who have been refused asylum back to Afghanistan.

The press agency EPD reported that in 2018, 284 Afghans were repatriated, compared with 121 in 2017. Most of those sent back are people who have given a false identity during their asylum claim, committed a crime or are considered dangerous in some way.

Temporary pause on deportations

The lower numbers in 2017 may be partly due to the fact that repatriations were reduced during that year following a worsening of the security situation in Afghanistan and a terrorist attack on the German embassy in the capital, Kabul.

In June 2018, the situation was reassessed by the German foreign office. In its report, it described the security situation as "volatile", but despite this caution, repatriations began again. Each federal state in Germany has different policies towards repatriation. At the moment, only the state of Bavaria places no restrictions on deportations to Afghanistan.

According to German government figures, about 140 of the 284 Afghans deported in 2018 had been accused of a criminal offence. At least five of those were violent. 33 people were accused of having tried to conceal their identities. Since 2018, each state has been able to decide whether these constitute grounds for deportation.

Deportations from Germany, especially to Afghanistan, have triggered demonstrations. Protesters have argued that some home countries aren't safe | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/S.Babbar

Total cost in 2018 2,5 million euros

In 2018, there were a total of 11 flights back to Afghanistan. According to EPD, the total cost of those flights came to around 2.5 million Euros, paid for by the European border agency, Frontex.

The spokesperson on home affairs for Die Linke, Ulla Jelpke, has labeled deportations to Afghanistan "contemptuous" because the security situation has continued to worsen. 

The German government stands by the assertion that the security situation in Afghanistan varies considerably between regions.  In 2019, one flight took off in early January from Munich to Kabul. 35 men were on board, and all were helped by the International Office for Migration (IOM) on arrival. The program offered by the IOM is criticized by Jelpke, who says it doesn’t offer a real perspective to people who are "fighting for their own existence." Jelpke told the EPD that she had the impression that the offer of assistance was there to "salve the consciences of those who order the deportations."

This article was based on a report in German by the press agency EPD.


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