Germany's Laschet says 'criminal' Afghans should be deported
Armin Laschet, who is succeeding Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), made the comments to the German tabloid Bild.
He said: "Criminals must continue to be consistently deported, including to Afghanistan."
Afghanistan is embroiled in fierce fighting between government forces and the Taliban, with hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing the conflict.
Laschet acknowledged that the Taliban’s actions are causing "consequences for the population but said "the situation therefore requires ongoing assessment and careful action in the event of returns. But our line remains clear: Anyone who commits a criminal offense in Germany has forfeited their right to stay as a guest".
Currently, if a foreign national is sentenced to at least two years in prison they can be deported.
The deportation of Afghans has caused a stir in Germany, with rights activists and NGOs demanding an end to the practice.
Germany in July completed its pullout of troops from Afghanistan ending a nearly 20-year deployment in the country, alongside the US and other international forces.
Thirty NGOs united to write an open letter calling on European countries to "immediately" suspend deportations of Afghans due to the security situation in the country.