Germany will continue to deport certain applicants home to Afghanistan if they are rejected for asylum. Members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-wing Christian Democratic Union support the plan, German media report.
The various conflicts in Afghanistan did not pose a risk to all civilians, and therefore Germany's deportations to the country would continue under certain circumstances, a spokesman for Germany's Foreign Ministry said late Wednesday. The government is on course for a record number of deportations in 2017.
"The individual threat level for people who live in Afghanistan or return to Afghanistan depends on a multitude of factors," Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said, citing ethnicity, gender and place of residence.
Monitoring security situation
Germany's government sent 261 people to Afghanistan in the first half of 2017 before re-evaluating the security situation following an attack on its own heavily fortified diplomatic headquarters in Kabul that killed some 150 people in May. The government temporarily suspended the deportations after the attack. Eight hundred people have "volunteered" to go back to Afghanistan.
This year, insurgencies by the Taliban and so-called "Islamic State" (IS) have led to the killings of about 2,500 members of Afghanistan's security forces - not to mention an increasing number of civilians - according to a recent US government report. An attack killed dozens of Shiite Muslims on Monday.
Earlier Wednesday, Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth said Germany would continue to deport Afghans considered threats or "criminals" or apt to "persistently refuse to cooperate on identity verification."
Leading members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-wing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) greeted the news with enthusiasm, German media reported on Thursday. Stephan Harbarth, the CDU's top deputy in the Bundestag, told the Passauer Neue Presse that it was good news that officials had found "no grounds for a correction of our current repatriation practice."
"A complete stop to deportations would be an invitation to all Afghan migrants to head to Germany," Harbarth told the newspaper for an article published on Thursday. "A whole bunch of European states regularly repatriate migrants to Afghanistan," he said, "and in big numbers."
Fellow CDU Deputy Wolfgang Bosbach believes that some Afghans seek refuge in Germany without proper cause. "The mere obligation to serve in the Afghan army as an Afghan citizen cannot, from any legal point of view, be grounds for establishing an asylum claim in Germany," he said.
Germany's government has given asylum to about 250,000 people from Afghanistan. According to the Interior Ministry about 10,000 Afghans have been ordered to leave Germany or face eventual deportation.
mkg/jm (Reuters, AFP, KNA, dpa, AP)