Afghans Who Sought Refuge In Germany Now Being Sent Back

Many flights have been arriving in Kabul from Frankfurt over the past week filled with Afghan asylum-seekers who had sought a better life in Germany.

Afghan natives who had sought asylum in the European nation which had recently been hit by a terrorist attack, were selected by German officials to be sent back to the country from which they came due to the massive amounts of refugees who are streaming in to Germany from nations such as war-torn Iraq and Syria. The refugee crisis has been one that has caused much tension within European nations, yet Germany attempts to follow through on the promise made, to open its doors to refugees. To make sure there is room enough for the new asylum seekers, officials have needed to send those who are living without proper documentations or those who have committed crimes within its borders home to Afghanistan. Such individuals are the easiest for officials to remove.

Across Western Europe there are as many as 80,000 Afghans who may be repatriated after asylum applications were rejected under the agreement that was signed by Ghani and E.U. officials in October.

The Washington Post focused on the accounts of three men who were among 45 frustrated passengers on one of the flights, Javed Hakimi, Mohsen Amiri and Navid Mohammedi, arrived back in Afghanistan under guard on a charter flight from Frankfurt last week. There were a number of passengers who had family and friends waiting, yet a handful were left with no one to meet them.

"I am completely alone here," said Amiri, 35, who said he survived a shipwreck off Greece in 2012 while trying to reach his mother and siblings in Germany. "I was a law-abiding person there, and I was training to be a house painter, but they rejected my asylum case and said I had to go home. This is not my home. I don't even know where to start looking."

Unfortunately, not only are these returned citizens unwanted in Germany, but they are also seen as more of a thorn in the side of Afghan officials as well because thousands of refugees have been pouring back into the nation due to Pakistan and other nations cracking down on asylum seekers who are living illegally in their countries.

"This is a real crisis for us," said Rohullah Hashimi. "We pleaded with the Europeans to only send those who wanted to come voluntarily, but there was a lot of pressure for us to take back more." Many Afghans sold everything before they left their country, and they have returned penniless. With no prospects, he said, they may try to reach Europe again or even join the insurgents.

Fifty-seven-year-old Hakimi has spent over 20 years in Germany where he was married and had raised two daughters. His criminal record, however, made him a target to be returned to Afghanistan. He was convicted once of drug dealing in Germany and was imprisoned for two years and was then deported to Afghanistan.

Hakimi attempted to sneak back in, paying smugglers to guide him through half a dozen countries. He had been working in his brother's restaurant in Hamburg two weeks ago when he received a notice to report to police. His lawyer told him it was likely a routine matter, but he was in for a surprise when he was told he would soon be on a plane back to Afghanistan.

"Yes, they accused me of selling drugs, but I served my time in prison, and I wanted to be with my family again," Hakimi said. He said one man slated for the same flight had killed someone but was allowed to stay at the last minute after a church said he had converted to Christianity and repented.

Twenty-one-year-old Mohammedi has little ties in Afghanistan. He grew up in Iran, from which his family fled to escape civil war. They were victims of harassment so he was told to go to Germany and live with an uncle there in 2011 when he was just 16.

"I bought a ticket to Frankfurt and was so exhausted I fell asleep on the train," Mohammedi said. "A policeman woke me up and asked where I was from. I told him Afghanistan, and he said to me in Dari, 'Don't worry; you're safe now. You're in Germany.'"

Just a minor, Mohammedi stated that he was then sent to a school and given a visa. Several weeks ago everything changed when he was informed that his asylum claim had been rejected and was asked if he wanted to go home. He recounted, "Three times I told them no, but they sent me anyway." His family is still in Iran.

[Feature Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]