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Germany armed forces commissioner puts Afghan deportations in bad light

The armed forces commissioner of the German Bundestag has said the security situation in Afghanistan is still dire. His remarks come just weeks after Germany sent home 34 rejected Afghan asylum-seekers.

The German Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Hans-Peter Bartels, said on Wednesday that the security situation in Afghanistan continued to be very unstable, in comments that contrast with the government's argumentation to justify its deportations of rejected Afghan asylum-seekers.

The years-long mission by the German army in Afghanistan had by no means been as successful as initially hoped, Bartels told the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel.

Hans-Peter Bartels (picture-alliance/dpa/U. Baumgarten)

Bartels said armed clashes were increasing

"Afghanistan is not a safe country," Bartels said, adding that the poor security situation had led the international community to decide to continue its efforts to stabilize the country.

Among other things, Bartels said, clashes between Afghan armed forces and the Taliban had escalated in 2016, resulting in a growing number of displaced persons within the country itself.

Anti-deportation protests

The German government's deportation of 34 Afghan men, including criminal offenders and failed asylum-seekers, by plane to Kabul in mid-December provoked vehement criticism from churches, refugee advocates and opposition parties. Further deportation flights are planned from the start of next year.

Protester holding banner Afghanistan Is Not Safe (Getty Images/AFP/D. Roland)

Many oppose the deportations

Berlin maintains that there are safe regions within the war-torn country to which deportees could return without danger, while Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has argued that the deportations are necessary to allow the asylum system to keep functioning.

Afghanistan has been ravaged by conflict since the US-led invasion of the country in late 2001. The US attacked the country after the ruling Taliban refused to accede to Washington's demands to hand over Osama bin Laden, the founder of terrorist group al Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks in the US.

Since being ousted, the Taliban has waged a bloody insurgency against foreign forces and all Western-backed administrations in Kabul.

The Germany army, or Bundeswehr, is taking part in the international mission "Resolute Support," which supplies training, advice and support to Afghan security forces.

Watch video 01:27

Refugee deportation from Germany sparks controversy

tj/kms (AFP, epd)

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