Germany sent back 31 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan. They arrived in Kabul early on Thursday morning -- just two days after the most recent attack in the Afghan capital, which claimed six lives.
According to the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, the flight with the deportees landed at 7:00 am local time (0330 GMT) following an overnight journey.
It was the 32nd deportation flight from Germany to Afghanistan since December 2016, when certain regions of Afghanistan were first recognized as safe by the German government. Decisions on how to deal with failed asylum seekers are taken at the state-level in Germany. Some German states deport only those who have been convicted of serious crimes, while other parts of the country – such as the state of Bavaria – also deports non-criminal single Afghan men whose asylum application has been rejected.
A total of 868 failed asylum seekers have been sent back to Afghanistan in the past three years.
Safe country despite daily attacks
Deportations of Afghan national are deeply controversial in Germany, often attracting protests. Many consider the war-torn country as too dangerous to send asylum seekers back to, with almost daily attacks from the Taliban and Islamic militants keeping the central Asian nation in limbo.
Most recently, six people were killed and 13 others wounded in a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital on Tuesday. Since 2009, the death toll of civilian casualties in such attacks has surpassed 100,000, according to the head of the UN's Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto.
Afghanistan also ranks as the most violent country in the world in the 2019 Global Peace Index.
Wrong interpretation of the law
The non-governmental refugee and asylum group ProAsyl has called on Germany's state interior ministers to stop deportations to Afghanistan, stressing that the country has become increasingly dangerous since 2016.
In its most recent appeal to officials, the NGO highlighted the plight of deported men with wives and families. ProAsyl said that the practice went against legal guidelines saying that only single men could be deported if their asylum requests were rejected.
The organization said that three men on the most recent deportation flight were affected by this clerical oversight, adding on Twitter that a lawyer working for the group managed to stop the deportation of a young father scheduled to be taken to Afghanistan on that flight.
Isolation, victimization and radicalization
According to a study conducted in Germany, deported men face great adversities once they arrive back in Afghanistan. Many reported being attacked by the Taliban for having left the country for Europe.
Others reported facing rejection by their own families, who blamed them for getting deported because they had broken the law in Germany.
Another study conducted by Medico International and the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO) also stated that returned migrants faced a high risk of being subject to radicalization in Afghanistan. The study said that people who had been deported to the country were left economically destitute, making them vulnerable to recruitment efforts by insurgent groups.
There's some tentative hope that the security situation in Afghanistan might improve. On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump "conditionally approved" a US-Taliban peace deal, according to a report in the New York Times.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the recent development as "notable progress."
The agreement is said to include a timeline for the withdrawal of US and international troops, with Taliban guarantees that terrorist attacks will no longer be planned from Afghan soil.
with dpa, KNA, DW
•••• ➤ Also read: Number of Afghans deported from Germany reaches 800
•••• ➤ Also read: At the end of the road: A look at deportations from Germany