By US plane to Doha: First German citizens evacuated from Kabul

By US plane to Doha
First German citizens evacuated from Kabul

After the radical Islamic Taliban invade Kabul, the Bundeswehr starts an evacuation campaign. Now the first German citizens land in the Gulf emirate of Qatar. An “airlift” is to be set up in the coming days with transport machines of the Bundeswehr.

The evacuation of German citizens from the Afghan capital Kabul has begun. According to information from the German Press Agency, 40 employees of the German embassy landed on a US plane in Doha in the Gulf emirate of Qatar on Monday night. Four members of the Swiss representation in Afghanistan were also on board the machine. In the past few days, the militant Islamist Taliban had taken one city after the other, sometimes without a fight, at a rapid pace, had also invaded the capital Kabul on Sunday and already have the presidential palace under their control.

In view of the dramatic situation on Friday, the federal government decided to reduce the embassy staff to a minimum. On Sunday, all employees were taken to the airport, which is secured by thousands of US soldiers.

“Airlift” is to be set up

The first evacuation flight was carried out with a US machine, because the Bundeswehr did not want to send two A400M transport machines from Wunstorf in Lower Saxony to Kabul until Monday night. Over the next few days, they are to be a central component of an “airlift”, via which, in addition to the embassy staff, other German citizens and local staff who have worked or are still working for the Bundeswehr or federal ministries in Afghanistan are to be brought to Germany.

The two A400Ms, which offer space for 114 passengers and have special protection against attacks with missiles, for example, fly those affected to a “third country” that the federal government has not yet named for security reasons. From there it goes on to Germany with civilian machines. It is still unclear how many people are to be flown out in total. The evacuation operation is supported by paratroopers from the Rapid Forces Division of the Bundeswehr, which has been specially trained for such operations. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer described the operation on Sunday as dangerous. “We are set up for all scenarios,” she said.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the Taliban’s takeover of power was imminent. In this situation, the security of German nationals and Afghan employees in recent years must have “top priority.”