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Sep 13, 4:29 AM EDT

Germany sends 8 convicted criminals back to Afghanistan

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BERLIN (AP) -- Germany has deported eight Afghan men whose asylum applications were rejected back to their home country.

Bavaria's interior minister Joachim Herrmann says the men were all convicted criminals. At least two were convicted of rape.

Wednesday's expulsion is the first since Germany stopped deportation flights to Afghanistan following a bomb attack that partially destroyed the German embassy in Kabul on May 31. More than 100 Afghans died in the attack, prompting refugee support groups to call for a halt to deportations on security grounds.

With national elections less than two weeks away and migrant crime one of the top election issues, the German government has been taking a tough line on the need to deport people whose asylum requests have been rejected.

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