They were the first people to leave Germany in a highly contested programme of “collective deportations” to the war-torn country.
Awaiting the men were Afghan police officers and refugee ministries officials, as well as representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The mood was sombre among the deported men. Some were sad, others were angry.
Babur Sedik said that he had spent four years in Germany and had never made it out of a refugee camp.
The 22-year-old said he has no idea what to do next. He comes from Kabul province, which is still relatively stable.
“But if the security situation doesn’t improve and I don’t find work, then I won’t have a choice – I’ll have to flee again. Or I’ll go to Pakistan or some other country.”
For Rahmat Khan, the possibilities are even slimmer. Also 22, he comes from Paktia province and he says that he can’t go back as the Taliban are everywhere there.
He lived in Germany for five years, working as a waiter and learning the language.
“In Germany I wanted to work towards a better future for my family,” he says, adding that he has no idea where he will go now.
The so-called Sammelabschiebungen (collective deportations) have resulted in protest due to the unstable security situation in Afghanistan.
In large areas of the country, government troops are still battling fighters loyal to the fundamentalist Taliban group.
According to the UN, the first six months of 2016 saw the highest civilian casualties in the civil war since records began in 2009: 5,166 people were killed or maimed during that period, a third of whom were children.
By The Local