34 deported Afghan asylum seekers return from Germany
Afghan asylum seekers have returned home after being deported from Germany the day before, an official said, a move that was made possible after a recent Afghan-Germany deal to stem the influx into the European country.
The plane carrying the deportees - all young men without families - landed in Kabul around 5am local time, said the Kabul airport chief of police, Mohammad Asif Jabarkhil.
Many of the deportees expressed disappointment, saying they had lived and worked in Germany for years and were now forced to come back without any job prospects.
"I am not happy, everything is different for me here," said Sidiq Kuchai, a 23-year-old from northern Baghlan province who was in Germany for seven years. "I had a good job and was working in a restaurant in Cologne. But in Afghanistan, I have no job and no security."
The memorandum of understanding that Berlin and Kabul recently signed is part of Germany's efforts - after allowing in 890,000 migrants last year - to manage the influx by speeding up the asylum process for the applicants most likely to receive it, such as Syrians fleeing civil war.
In turn, German authorities accelerated the expulsion of unlikely candidates for asylum, such as people seeking to escape poverty in the Balkans.
But Afghans fell somewhere in the middle, with some areas of the country considered safe and some not. Until now, few were deported with many instead being convinced to go home voluntarily with financial incentives.
At the Kabul airport on Thursday, some deportees - such as 24-year-old Mohammad Khan who said he had spent 10,000 euros (£8,350) to get to Europe and had lived in Germany for almost six years - complained over the behaviour of the German police.
"Two days ago, two policemen came to my home and said, 'Let's go on a picnic,' and took me to the deportation centre," he said. "The next day, I was brought to the Frankfurt Airport.
Bitter about his fate, Mr Khan said that if he cannot find a job, he would join the Taliban.
Ministry of repatriation's media adviser Hafiz Ahmad Meyakhil defended the deportation, saying it was done under a proper agreement and according to law.
"The Afghan government has the obligation to provide shelter and better life for its citizens," Mr Meyakhil said, but warned that as long as there is instability in Afghanistan, European counties need to brace for a further influx.
"We also have 92,000 internally displaced this year from the fighting in our country," he added.
"Syrian refugees have more of a chance than Afghans," said Ali Hussain, 22, who was deported from the city of Dortmund.
There were a few happy faces in the group, including 22-year-old Matiiullah Azizi from Kabul who said that after seven years in Frankfurt, he was glad to be home.
"I love Afghanistan, it's my country," he said.