Monday, August 30, 2021
Afghans hope to be evacuated
Maas only wants to help with acceptance of admission
After the Taliban came to power, thousands of Afghans are still hoping to leave for Germany. During his visit to Uzbekistan, Foreign Minister Maas made it clear that help should only be given to people who had a confirmation of admission from Germany.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas only wants to help those people who have been accepted to Germany to leave Afghanistan. “We are only concerned with this group of people,” emphasized the SPD politician after talks in Uzbekistan, which, as Afghanistan’s neighbor, is a first port of call for those seeking protection from the country.
There are more than 10,000 Afghans on the Federal Foreign Office’s exit lists. These include former Afghan employees of the armed forces or ministries – the so-called local staff – and people in particular need of protection such as human rights activists or women’s rights activists. In addition, there are their family members. As things stand now, there are more than 40,000 people who are to be admitted to Germany – if they manage to leave the country.
Uzbekistan wants to support the departure from Afghanistan, said Maas. He described it as a difficult task to get people overland from Afghanistan in the second evacuation phase after the end of the military flights. For one thing, you need guarantees from the Taliban. On the other hand, one must avoid naming public collection points, as in Kabul. There were then tens of thousands waiting there who did not belong to the group that wanted to evacuate Germany.
Maas denies newspaper report
Maas does not want to talk to the Taliban about the departure of those seeking protection. The Federal Government’s interlocutor for the Taliban is diplomat Markus Potzel, who is currently negotiating with representatives of the new Afghan rulers in the Gulf emirate of Qatar. “This is the channel we use,” he said. That will continue to be done.
Maas denied a newspaper report after only comparatively few local workers were flown out by the Bundeswehr during the evacuations. At the airlift, significantly more than around 100 local workers were evacuated, he said. The passenger lists for evacuation flights from Kabul are currently being compared with partner countries. It will therefore take a while before there is a clear overview. The “Welt am Sonntag” reported that apparently only just over 100 local workers and their families were flown out during the German evacuation mission. The sheet relied on figures from the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
According to Maas, the neighboring states want to coordinate and – if possible – develop a common position on Afghanistan. “There are efforts to get all neighboring countries around the table,” he said after the talks in the Uzbek capital Tashkent before the onward flight to Tajikistan. All major players, including Russia and China, should be there. In this context, he referred to the ongoing talks on a UN Security Council resolution on Afghanistan. There it will show whether there is a willingness to cooperate in Moscow and Beijing.