The European Commission calls on EU countries to prepare for possible refugee movements from Afghanistan. “We shouldn’t make the same mistakes as in 2015. We shouldn’t wait until the people are at the EU’s external borders,” said EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson of “Welt am Sonntag” according to a preliminary report. One must support the Afghans within the country and in the neighboring countries of the region. The Swedish politician calls on all EU countries to increase their quotas for resettlement of refugees within the UNHCR program. “The EU Commission is ready to coordinate such programs and provide additional financial aid.”
+++ 02:15 am Erdogan against “additional burden” by Afghan refugees +++
Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and talked about the situation in Afghanistan. As the deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer announced, the Chancellor and President Erdogan agreed “that the evacuation of vulnerable people from Afghanistan continues to have the highest priority”. According to the Turkish government, Erdogan also pointed out in the phone call that Turkey would not be able to bear this “additional burden” in the event of an increased movement of refugees from Afghanistan. “A new wave of migration is inevitable if the necessary measures are not taken in Afghanistan and Iran,” said Erdogan. “Turkey, which has already (taken in) five million refugees, cannot bear any additional burden from migrants.”
+++ 01:30 Ex-Prime Minister Blair considers motives for US withdrawal to be “idiotic” +++
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has accused the West of abandoning Afghanistan. “Letting Afghanistan and its people down is tragic, dangerous, unnecessary, not in their interests and not in ours,” wrote Blair on his institute’s website. The ex-prime minister, during whose term of office Great Britain joined the US in the war in Afghanistan, described the US motives for withdrawing troops from the country as “idiotic”: “We did this in the wake of an idiotic political slogan End of the “Forever Wars” – as if our mission in 2021 was even remotely comparable to our mission 20 or ten years ago. ” The withdrawal from Afghanistan “cheers every jihadist group around the world,” Blair continued. Russia, China and Iran would take advantage of the move.
+++ 01:02 Borrell: Rescue of all local staff by the end of August “impossible” +++
The EU foreign representative Josep Borrell believes it is impossible to force all local staff from the USA and other NATO countries out of Afghanistan by the end of August. “The Americans want to fly 60,000 people out by the end of the month. That is mathematically impossible,” said Borrell. He made the strict control and security measures of the US military at Kabul airport jointly responsible for the slow evacuation. The EU had already “complained” to the US government about this, reported the EU chief diplomat. “The problem is access to the airport,” said Borrell. At the same time, he joined the demands of several NATO countries to extend the evacuation mission of the US military at Kabul airport beyond the end of August.
+++ 00:18 FDP boss Lindner calls for Afghanistan investigation committee +++
FDP leader Christian Lindner has called for a committee of inquiry into Afghanistan. There everything must come on the table in the next legislative period, “that did not work,” said Lindner of “Bild am Sonntag”. “Also, what systematic weaknesses we have in these missions. That must be clarified and redesigned.” The “misjudgment” of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) on the situation in Afghanistan must also have consequences, said Lindner. “It may have to be set up again.”
+++ 23:37 Bundeswehr flies out another 20 people – machine landed in Tashkent +++
The Bundeswehr has flown another 20 people out of the Afghan capital Kabul. An A400M transport machine “with 20 evacuated people on board” landed in the Uzbek capital Tashkent at 10:00 p.m., the Bundeswehr announced on Twitter on Saturday evening. The Bundeswehr has flown more than 2,100 people from the Afghan capital since the start of their evacuation flights.
+++ 22:59 KSK brings people to the airport +++
The special forces command is now apparently intervening in a targeted manner and bringing people to the airport in Kabul. That tweeted the Green MP in the European Parliament, Erik Marquardt. Because the streets in front of the airport are controlled by the Taliban, many are unable to get to the evacuation plane. Only a day before it became known that the Bundeswehr was considering an expanded deployment of the KSK. According to “Spiegel”, KSK helicopters are to be used to pick up those seeking protection directly in the city or from other regions occupied by the Taliban and to bring them safely to the airport.
+++ 22:07 report: people squashed to death at Kabul airport +++
According to a media report, several people died in the crowd at the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Recordings from the British television broadcaster Sky News showed soldiers covering at least three bodies with white tarpaulin. What the people died of was initially unclear. Several injured people could also be seen. The Sky News reporter Stuart Ramsay, who was at the airport himself, reported that several people were “crushed” in the crowd. Rescue workers rushed from one injured person to another. Ramsay said people waiting at the airport were “dehydrated and panicked”. He also filmed soldiers who sprayed those waiting with a water hose to cool off.
+++ 21:45 US Air Force: So far 2,300 people have flown to Ramstein +++
According to its own statements, the US Air Force has now flown around 2,300 people from Afghanistan to Ramstein. According to a statement, 17 C-17 planes have landed on the airfield since Friday evening as part of the “Operation Allies Refuge” mission.
+++ 21:31 Because of IS: US government is looking for other routes for evacuation +++
The US government is looking for ways to get its citizens out of Afghanistan via other routes rather than via Kabul airport. The AP news agency learned from US government circles that there is a potential threat directed against Americans from the Afghan branch of the terrorist organization Islamic State, which makes the route to the airport even more dangerous. A source said that small groups of US citizens, as well as possibly other civilians, could be given instructions to go to a location where soldiers could pick them up.
+++ 21:03 flag of the USA flies over Kabul airport +++
According to military reports, the United States flag is still flying over Kabul Airport, which is still controlled by US forces. “The flag continues to fly and the mission continues,” said US Maj. General William Taylor at the Pentagon. US embassy staff continue to work at the airport. The flag of the United States was lowered last Sunday at the US embassy in the center of the Afghan capital Kabul. The move marked the completion of the diplomatic mission’s evacuation. According to current planning, the US intends to end its evacuation mission on August 31. Then the last US soldiers should also withdraw from Afghanistan.
+++ 20:24 Laschet: Opposition call for Afghan aid workers to leave was correct +++
In view of developments in Afghanistan, Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet has admitted that the German government would have better listened to early opposition demands to get local workers to safety quickly. “The approach to get them out weeks ago was the right one. And the opposition could have been right,” said the CDU chairman in the Sat.1 summer interview.
+++ 20:11 EU foreign representative: Rescue of all local staff by the end of August “impossible” +++
The EU foreign representative Josep Borrell believes it is impossible to force all local staff from the USA and other NATO countries out of Afghanistan by the end of August. “That is mathematically impossible,” said Borrel now. Borrell made the strict security precautions of the US military at Kabul airport partly responsible for the dramatic situation. Borrell said the EU had “complained” to the US about the tight security measures. Afghan local workers from the EU who want to leave the country would have difficulties getting to the airport.
+++ 19:57 Russia and Turkey want to vote on the Afghanistan issue +++
According to the Kremlin, Russia and Turkey want to coordinate more closely with one another because of the situation in Afghanistan. “The presidents have agreed to strengthen bilateral coordination on the Afghan issue,” said the Kremlin in Moscow after President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone. Both sides emphasized the importance of stability and social peace in the country. The priority task is the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, it said in the Kremlin announcement. Russia has long been negotiating with the militant Islamist Taliban, who have taken power in Afghanistan. The movement is banned as a terrorist organization in Russia, but Moscow wants to monitor developments and then decide on a possible recognition of the new leadership in Kabul.
+++ 19:33 AKK: “Our assessment of the situation was wrong” +++
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has admitted a massive misjudgment by the German government in view of the advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan. “At the beginning of last week, nobody in the international community expected that Kabul would fall without a fight at the end of the week,” wrote Kramp-Karrenbauer in a letter to members of the Bundestag. “Our assessment of the situation was wrong, and our assumptions about the capabilities and readiness of the Afghan resistance to the Taliban were overly optimistic.” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Chancellor Angela Merkel made similar statements on August 16, the day after the Taliban captured Kabul.
+++ 19:14 US armed forces: entrance gates at Kabul airport are open +++
During the evacuation mission in Afghanistan, the US armed forces continue to process people at the various entrances at Kabul Airport, according to their own statements. Entrance gates have only been closed for a short time in the past 24 hours so that “the right people” could pass, said US Major General William Taylor at the Pentagon. Taylor and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby could not explain why the US embassy in Kabul advised US citizens not to go to the airport today. Kirby pointed out, however, that the situation around the airport is not stable and is constantly changing. Kirby said there were “a small number” of Americans harassed or beaten by the Taliban on their way to the airport in the past few days.
You can read all previous developments here.
Background: After the announced US military withdrawal, the security situation in Afghanistan changed dramatically within a few weeks. Foreign troops leave the country. Western states are trying to evacuate their diplomatic missions. Tens of thousands of Afghans who have worked as translators or simple local staff for the military and aid or development organizations fear for their lives. The federal government has announced a large-scale rescue mission that is due to start on August 16.