Afghan asylum-seeker numbers 'unacceptable': German minister

Berlin (AFP) - Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Wednesday the rising number of Afghan asylum seekers was "unacceptable", as he urged young citizens of the south Asian nation to stay at home and rebuild their homeland.

"Afghanistan is in the second place of (asylum seekers') origin countries in the current month and also for the whole year. That is unacceptable. We are in agreement with the Afghan government that we don't want that," De Maiziere said.

"There is an increasing number of citizens from the middle class, also from Kabul, and we are in agreement with the Afghan government that young Afghans from middle-class families should stay in their country and rebuild it," said De Maiziere.

German soldiers and police had been sent to Afghanistan to help "make the country safer", said the interior minister, adding that "large amounts of development funds" have been sent to the country.

"So we can expect the Afghans to remain in their country," he said.

"I'm therefore saying clearly today that those who come from Afghanistan as refugees cannot all expect to stay in Germany," he said.

De Maiziere however acknowledged that there remains security concerns in Afghanistan, and that the country could not qualify as a safe origin country -- a category which would have led to blanket refusals of asylum requests.

Between January and September, some 577,307 people filed requests for asylum in Germany, including 51,643 Afghans.

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