Germany has sent home another batch of Afghan asylum-seekers denied haven as a plane carrying about 50 people left the city of Munich on Wednesday.

It was the third such flight since late last year, drawing protests from Amnesty International and left-wing opposition parties.

Germany deported a record 80,000 migrants denied asylum last year and officials have said that figure will rise in 2017, as Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks to win back conservative voters before elections in September.

The European Union’s largest economy has taken in more than 1 million migrants in the past 18 months, most of them fleeing war in Syria. But it has argued that it can safely repatriate people to Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, where German troops are part of NATO forces seeking to create stability.

Merkel, who is running for re-election in September, is facing fallout from those opposed to her decision in 2015 to open German borders to refugees.

Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party has been pushing to deport more migrants whose applications have failed or foreigners who have committed crimes, as a way to placate the opposition.

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