Aircraft already booked: AKK blames Maas for failed evacuation

Planes already booked
AKK blames Maas for the failed evacuation

Four days before the Bundeswehr gives up its location in Afghanistan, the ministry has planned the departure of dozens of local personnel. But the campaign fails due to visa and passport issues. Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer is now pointing her finger at the Foreign Office.

Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has practically blamed the Federal Foreign Office for the delayed rescue of local workers from Afghanistan. According to information from ntv, the CDU politician said that two charter flights that had already been booked for local staff had been canceled on June 25th due to visa problems. In addition, since April she has asked the other ministries in vain to contact their local staff and draw up lists, she said. But nothing happened.

According to the “Süddeutscher Zeitung”, local workers and their families were brought to safety from the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif at the end of June. The operation failed at the time due to disputes over passport and visa requirements. According to this, around 60 Afghan local armed forces and their family members could have been flown out in two planes operated by Spanish airlines – a total of up to 300 people. The action would have taken place four days before the end of the Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan. The Bundeswehr had its main base in Afghanistan in Mazar-i-Sharif.

“At the planned time of implementation, the requirements such as passport and visa for the safe handling of possible passengers on site could no longer be met,” the SZ quoted a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. The main aim was to unequivocally identify the local staff and their relatives on the one hand and to check before leaving whether they were entitled to be brought to Germany. The people were then given individual tickets for scheduled flights by the Bundeswehr. The ministry was unable to answer whether they made it to Germany.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior had refused for months to simplify the procedure for hiring local staff. Just last week, when the security situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated dramatically due to the advance of the radical Islamic Taliban, Horst Seehofer, head of department, agreed that local staff could come to Germany without entry papers. For many, however, it was already too late by then.

Opposition: Nothing new from Maas

Meanwhile, the FDP and AfD complain that Foreign Minister Maas left all important questions open in the session of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Afghanistan. “There was no new knowledge,” said FDP foreign policy official Bijan Djir-Sarai. For example, Maas was unable to explain how the misjudgment came about that Kabul would not fall. “That question remains in the room.” Maas himself left the special session of the committee without speaking to the waiting journalists.

AfD foreign politician Armin Paul Hampel described the situation in Afghanistan as a “disaster” and said to the committee meeting: “For me it was a cacophony of attempted explanations. There were evasive answers to many questions.” The preparations for the evacuation were just as “terribly bad” as the preparations for a possible takeover of power by the Taliban.