Germany looks to deportations to Afghanistan after police killing

FILE PHOTO: Police investigators work at the scene where a man attacked people at a far right-wing information stand of the Buergerbewegung Pax Europa in Mannheim

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is considering deporting Afghan migrants who pose a security threat back to Afghanistan, the interior minister said on Tuesday, after the killing of a police officer in a knife attack last week drew calls for a tougher line on migration.

Such a move would be controversial as Germany does not repatriate people to countries where they are threatened with death. It stopped deportations to Afghanistan after the Taliban took power in 2021. In addition, reaching a deal with the Taliban, some of whose officials are under international sanctions, is widely seen as problematic.

However, just days before European elections in which the far-right is expected to perform strongly, the minister said she had been intensively looking at the issue for months and planned to make a decision as soon as possible.

"It is clear to me that people who pose a potential threat to Germany's security must be deported quickly," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told reporters, adding this included sending people to Afghanistan and Syria.

"I am also quite adamant that Germany's security interests clearly outweigh the interests of those affected," she said, adding the government was already trying to speed up deportations to other countries.

The knife attack on Friday by a 25-year-old originally from Afghanistan severely injured six people at an anti-Islam event in Mannheim on Friday. A policeman died from his injuries. The attacker, who was shot and wounded was not living illegally in Germany.

In the last few days, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has used the attack to call for a tougher migrant policy.

"Our thoughts are with all civil servants who have to put their lives in danger every day because of a misguided migration and security policy,” the AfD’s co-leaders said.

Within the awkward three-way coalition led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats), the Greens oppose plans for deportations to Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Madeline Chambers, Editing by William Maclean)