Germany sends 19 more Afghans back to war-torn Kabul
A new group of 19 Afghans whose asylum application was rejected by Germany landed in war-torn Kabul Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told AFP.
The group was made up of men, mostly young, some of whom had spent most of their lives living outside of Afghanistan before being deported, an IOM spokeswoman who went to Kabul International Airport to greet them said.
The chartered flight departed Duesseldorf late Tuesday.
Initially, 80 Afghan asylum seekers were meant to be on board, but last-minute claims and cases of illness reduced the number, a German relief association told AFP.
Berlin argues that the expelled are criminals who have served their sentences or persons considered dangerous because they are alleged to be related to radical Islam.
A German interior ministry spokesman said the group included men convicted of sexual abuse of children, rape, battery, robbery and drug offences.
Germany, which has repatriated its diplomatic staff from Afghanistan with the exception of the ambassador accommodated in the US embassy, says Afghanistan is safe enough for the rejected asylum seekers.
But the expulsions come amid high tensions in Afghanistan, with civilian casualties at record highs and increased threats of attacks in recent days.
A large hotel in Kabul was the target of a bloody weekend assault claimed by the Taliban, with at least 22 people killed, most of them foreigners.
On Wednesday, a new hours-long attack targeted the offices of the Save the Children NGO in eastern Jalalabad city, killing at least two people.