The German government has for the first time deported Afghan asylum seekers， sending 34 back to Kabul on a chartered flight last night. Hundreds of protesters — both Afghan and German — marched against the deportations at Frankfurt Airport where the flight departed.
The migrants’ requests for asylum had been denied.
that the government action is misguided， given that Afghanistan is still at war with the Taliban， which effectively controls much of the country. Protesters say there is no mechanism in place to ensure the safety of the deportees once they return.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’ such deportations to win back voters who are leaning towards the nationalist， anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party， which is steadily gaining in the polls.
At a news conference this morning in Berlin， Thomas de Maiziere defended the deportations.
'When someone doesn’t have a right to international protection and is deportable， leave Germany unless there are concrete obstacles to that deportation，' de Maziere said.
He added that voluntary repatriation is the German government’s preferred way of getting rid of migrants who don’t qualify for asylum， but that people won’ about deportations.
De Maiziere said 50 people had originally been scheduled to leave on last night’s charter flight， but that some received a last- they went into hiding.
The interior minister said the deportees who were on board arrived in Kabul this morning and were received by Afghan refugee officials， for Migration and German embassy personnel.
'Of those 34 ， about a third were criminals，' he added. 'They’d been convicted of theft， robbery， narcotics offenses and even rape and homicide.'
So far， most of the Afghan repatriations from Germany have been voluntary， with Merkel’s government offering financial incentives to Afghans whose asylum claims were rejected and who agree to return to Kabul.
But German officials say they plan to forcibly return more of the 12，000 Afghans living in Germany who’ve been issued deportation orders.