The deportees landed in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday, February 9. They departed the German city Munich earlier that day.
The Bavarian regional office for Asylum and Refugees (Bayerische Landesamt für Asyl und Flüchtlinge) said on Wednesday that the 26 men had landed in Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, according to the news agency AFP.
12 of the men were returned directly from Bavaria. The majority of them, according to German authorities, were convicted criminals. Two of them had committed several serious crimes, including sexual abuse of children and young people, and had been sentenced to heavy sentences in prison.
The other ten men returned from Bavaria had committed other "serious crimes," reported AFP.
The remaining 14 Afghan nationals were put on the flight from a list of other German states, including Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg, the city state of Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, North Rhine Westphalia, Rheinland Palitinate, Schlweswig-Holstein, Saarland and Saxony.
These other German states refrained from making any statement on the identity of those they had placed on the flight, or about the reasons for them being included in the deportation flight.
Criticism from Pro Asyl
The pro-migrant group Pro-Asyl criticized returns and deportations to Afghanistan in general, pointing out that the security situation in the country was so unstable that it shouldn’t be possible to return nationals there. They called the security situation a "catastrophe," saying that parts of the country were still being de facto controlled by the Taliban and other armed and extremist groups.
Afghanistan is also suffering from a high incidence of coronavirus cases in addition to that, said Pro-Asyl. In a press release published on Febuary 9, the group said that both the Robert Koch Institute in Germany and the German Foreign Office had declared Afghanistan a "high risk area" regarding COVID-19, and that the country was being hit hard and didn’t have a sufficient health system network to cope with such a crisis.
Pro-Asyl added that "four out of every ten people are going hungry" in Afghanistan, and that malnutrition would also make it more difficult for a person to fight off the novel coronavirus. The organization said that the number of those who are now starving had doubled since the beginning of 2020, from 9.4 million to almost 18.4 in the first months of 2021.
Pro-Asyl joined "over 95" other groups around the country who are campaigning to stop deportations under the hashtag #AfghanistanNotSafe and #StopDeportation.
The group claimed that one of the men scheduled to be on board the flight was just nine years old when he came to Germany. The 20-year-old, who had been living in North Rhine Westphalia, "has never been to Afghanistan, they say and has no relatives there," according to the group.
A spokesperson for the Left party (Die Linke), Ulla Jelpke, also posted her views about the deportee known as "Hasib"; however, she stated he was 22 years old. She said in her Twitter post that if the Bavarian authorities had even "a tiny bit of humanity in them, they would stop the deportation immediately."
According to Pro-Asyl, the flight was the second so far this year. In January, another 26 men were deported to Afghanistan. Last year, deportation flights were suspended for nine months due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The organization meanwhile called for the German government to enact another ban on deportations until the situation in the country could begin to improve.