FRANKFURT: Ger­many’s government is holding talks with Uzbekistan to enable deportations from Germany to Afghanistan without direct consultations with the Taliban, according to a report in German magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday.

A delegation from the interior ministry travelled to the Uzbek capital Tashkent in late May for this purpose, the magazine said without disclosing its sources.

The delegation suggested to the Uzbek government that Afghan depor­tation candidates should be brought to Tashkent. From there they could be transported to Kabul via private airline KamAir, the report said. The German interior ministry did not immediately comment on the report.

Earlier in June, Germ­any’s interior minister Na­ncy Faeser said Germ­any was considering depor­ting Afghan migrants who posed a security threat back to Afghanistan, after a deadly stabbing of a police officer drew calls for a tougher line on migration.

Berlin stopped process after Taliban took power in 2021

Such a move would be controversial as Germany does not deport people to countries where they are threatened with death. It stopped deportations to Afghanistan after the Tali­ban took power in 2021.

The Uzbek government wants to sign a formal migration agreement with Germany before a deal on deportations, the Spiegel report said.

This agreement should regulate the entry of Uzbek skilled workers into Germany, and Berlin’s special representative for migration agreements will travel to Uzbekistan next week, Spiegel said.

Earlier this month, Germany said it was considering allowing deportations to Afghanistan, after an asylum seeker from the country injured five and killed a police official in a knife attack.

Officials had been carrying out an “intensive review for several mon­ths… to allow the deportation of serious criminals and dangerous individuals to Afghanistan”, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told journalists.

“It is clear to me that people who pose a potential threat to Germany’s security must be deported quickly,” Faeser said.

“That is why we are doing everything possible to find ways to deport criminals and dangerous people to both Syria and Afghanistan,” she said.

Deportations to Afgha­nis­tan from Germany have been completely stopped since the Taliban retook power in 2021. But a debate over resuming expulsions has resurged after a 25-year-old Afghan was accused of attacking people with a knife at an anti-Islam rally in the western city of Mannheim.

A police official, 29, died after being repeatedly stabbed as he tried to intervene in the attack. Five people taking part in a rally organised by Pax Europa, a campaign group against radical Islam, were also wounded.

The brutal attack has inflamed a public debate over immigration in the run-up to European elections and prompted calls to expand efforts to expel criminals. The suspect, named in the media as Sulaiman Ataee, came to Germany as a refugee in March 2013.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2024

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