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Germany Expels 14 Afghans Amid Protests


A Czech aircraft taxis before takeoff at Leipzig's airport on October 24, believed to be carrying the rejected asylum seekers, 11 of whom had criminal records.

Germany has expelled 14 rejected asylum seekers from Afghanistan amid angry protests that the war-wracked country is unsafe for those who return.

A chartered Czech plane with the Afghans on board, all of them men, took off late October 24 from Leipzig in eastern Germany and arrived in Kabul on October 25.

Around 150 demonstrators gathered at the airport in Leipzig to protest against the expulsions.

Eleven of those expelled had criminal records for acts such as manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm, sexual abuse of children, fraud, and theft, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Annegret Korff told reporters on October 25.

The other three Afghans had refused to cooperate on establishing their identity, she added.

Saxony state Interior Minister Markus Ulbig told public radio that Berlin was sending a "loud and clear message" that those not granted refugee status following an official review "no longer have a right to be in Germany."

Germany has granted asylum to most refugees from war-torn Syria. But the German government has argued it can safely repatriate asylum seekers to Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.

In Berlin, leading Greens deputy Claudia Roth urged the authorities to stop the deportations, noting that about 250 people were killed in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan in the past week.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has been struggling to bring down the numbers of asylum seekers after the arrival of more than 1 million migrants and refugees -- mainly from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan -- since 2015.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
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