Pope Francis urged Roman Catholics to consider the plight of migrants "driven from their land," and compared them to Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem, during Mass on Christmas Eve.

This could not be more poignant as at least 750 young Afghans are being forcibly deported from Europe to Afghanistan, where one-third of an estimated 11,500 civilian casualties from IEDs, Unexploded Ordnance, and Airstrikes were under 18 years old last year.

In 2015, Sweden initially welcomed the Afghan youths alongside another 35,000 unaccompanied minors from throughout the world.

Although Afghans account for over half the refugees in Sweden, only 28 percent were given asylum by the Immigration authorities in 2016, compared to 91 percent of Syrian applicants.

Why is this happening?

The move comes after the European Union declared there were “safe zones” in Afghanistan and made an agreement with its government described as a "joint way forward" in October 2016 to send refugees home if their asylum claims had been lost and as a result, it is not only Sweden who has decided to take advantage of this.

Britain, Norway, The Netherlands, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, France, and Germany have also deported Afghan refugees or offered them financial incentives to leave voluntarily. The number of Afghan refugees living in Europe is estimated to be over 477,000.

Pakistan and Iran, who both house 1.5 million and an estimated 3 million Afghans respectively, have been particularly aggressive in their deportations.

Ironically, many of those being "returned home" have never set foot in the country or not lived there since they were infants.

What are the conditions currently like in Afghanistan?

The situation in Afghanistan remains vulnerable as a result of chronic conflicts. Just this morning, a suicide attacker on foot blew himself up near a compound belonging to the Afghan intelligence agency in the capital, Kabul, killing six civilians although this was one of the cities which was labelled "safe".

What action is being taken to stop these forced removals?

In Germany, the government has supposedly acknowledged the problems of such a policy by temporarily suspending enforced departures after the numerous terrorist incidents in Afghanistan, including an attack on the German embassy in Kabul in May.

However, the regional Governments who are deal with migration have decided “criminals, persons who may endanger public security and persons who persistently refuse to cooperate” would still be removed after a review in the summer.

In Germany, there have been airport protests, with signs reading “Don’t send people back to die” whilst some pilots are refusing to fly deportation planes.

Aware of the backlash they have received, the German Government has offered a bonus to refused asylum seekers to take up by February 2018.

Cash incentives in the form of travel expenses are not novel but this new departure bonus is worth up to €3,000 per family.

Meanwhile, in the UK, MPs, and MEPs have been questioning whether the EU tied a 2016 aid package for Afghanistan to its willingness to take back refused asylum seekers since the deportations have accelerated massively.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that of the cases it was aware of, voluntary returns of Afghans from Europe halved this year compared to last year, whilst the number of forced deportations had more than doubled.

The European Scrutiny Select Committee has written to the Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan questioning what it called the “controversial link” between aid and deportations and the EU is also being challenged to explain whether the £184m of “state-building aid” would have been withheld unless Afghanistan agreed to cooperate on the enforced deportation of Afghans that lost asylum appeals in Europe in consideration of the refugees.

The Committee also noted that the EU itself accepted that in 2015 only, 11,000 Afghans died in terrorist attacks.

Activists say people sent to Afghanistan could be Killed, whilst Amnesty has accused the European nations of breaking international law by deporting at a time when civilian casualties in the country are at their highest in recent years.

They called on the European countries in question to suspend further deportations until the situation in Afghanistan "permits returns to take place in safety and dignity."