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Germany mulls expulsions to Afghanistan after knife attack

Germany Mannheim knife attack
Image: Video Screenshot

Germany said Tuesday it was considering allowing deportations to Afghanistan after an asylum seeker from the country killed a police officer and wounded five others in a knife attack.

Deportations to Afghanistan have been stopped since the Taliban retook power in 2021.

But Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Tuesday that officials had been carrying out an “intensive review for several months… to allow the deportation of serious criminals and dangerous individuals to Afghanistan.

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

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

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 on Friday.

A police officer, 29, died of his wounds on Sunday 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.

Friday’s 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.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that deportations to Afghanistan “cannot avoid key constitutional and, above all, security issues”.

“How do you expect to work with an Islamist terrorist regime with whom we have no relations at all?” Baerbock said, underlining that Germany has no embassy on site to coordinate the expulsions.

The suspect, named in the media as Sulaiman Ataee, came to Germany as a 14-year-old refugee in March 2013, according to reports.

He was initially refused asylum but was not deported because of his age, according to German daily Bild.

Ataee subsequently went to school in Germany and married a German woman of Turkish origin in 2019, with whom he has two children, according to the Spiegel weekly.

Ataee was reportedly not seen by authorities as a risk and did not appear to neighbours in Heppenheim as an extremist.

Anti-terrorism prosecutors on Monday took over the investigation into the incident, as they looked to establish a motive.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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