Germany: Afghan gov't agrees to cooperate on deportations

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The German government says Afghanistan has agreed to cooperate on the return of Afghan citizens whose request for asylum in Germany is rejected.

Germany's interior minister says the two countries signed a joint declaration Sunday that will provide a "clear and reliable basis" for both voluntary returns and deportations.

Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement Sunday that the agreement would help increase acceptance of Afghan asylum-seekers in Germany.

Germany has taken in the greatest number of refugees from Afghanistan of any European country.

Reducing the number of asylum-seekers coming to Germany — about 890,000 arrived in 2015 — has become a top priority for Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

Details of the agreement weren't provided and Interior Ministry officials didn't immediately respond to phone calls and emails.