Germany mulls expulsions to Afghanistan after knife attack

BERLIN: Germany said it was considering allowing deportations to Afghanistan, after an asylum-seeker from the country injured five and killed a police officer 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 on Friday.

A police officer, 29, died 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.

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

Ataee, who arrived in the country with his brother at the age of only 14, 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.

Per the reports, Ataee was not seen by authorities as a risk and did not appear to neighbours at his home 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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