Monday, August 16, 2021
Local worker in Kabul in fear of death
“Germany just messed with us”
The Bundeswehr is on its way to bring German citizens and local staff out of Afghanistan. But if you are not yet at Kabul airport, there is little prospect of rescue – including the Bundeswehr translator Zalmai A. and his family.
Zalmai A. is desperate, he doesn’t know how long he has to live. He does not know what will happen to his wife, his four children and his friends who, like him, worked as local personnel for the German armed forces. He only knows one thing: if the Taliban catch him, “then I’ll be dead”. The messages he sends RTL and ntv show a perplexed, fearful, but also angry father. The translator is on an evacuation list from the Federal Foreign Office, but that may no longer be of any use to him.
Zalmai A. still hopes that the Bundeswehr will somehow find him and his family in Kabul, bring them safely to the airport and fly out of the country from there. He himself cannot get to the airport from which terrible images go around the world. The access roads are blocked, and there are Taliban checkpoints across the city. “Now we are sitting here and we are simply nailed down,” says A. Time is running out: the US Army also wants to finish securing Kabul Airport by Wednesday evening. Anyone who is still in the country then remains alone with the Taliban.
Zalmai A. stayed with a friend. The houses, in which many local workers had gathered and hidden, were disbanded on Monday morning: According to consistent reports in the media and by Afghans on Twitter, the Taliban go from house to house in search of people who were responsible for the failed government and the foreign armies have worked. “Many local employees had their employment contracts with them,” reports A. “Of course that’s dangerous. If they get caught, that’s the death penalty.”
“Could have escaped anywhere”
The local staff left behind have to make their own way after the hiding places have been dissolved – uncertain whether they will possibly be contacted, found and rescued by the Germans. It would be a very dangerous undertaking for the Bundeswehr. The federal government is covered. Because of the overcrowding and the reported exchanges of fire at Kabul airport, it is not even certain that the German military planes will be able to land.
What makes Zalmai A. so angry: If he hadn’t trusted the German promise to evacuate, he could have got himself and his family out of the country on his own, or at least tried to. “In plain language this means: The Federal Republic of Germany has just screwed us. You could have told us at least a month or two weeks ago that we will not take you with us or that we will not help you,” complains Zalmai A. “That we will at least follow suit Pakistan could flee, or Iran, somewhere. ” His anger is directed against the German government: “They left us here so that the Taliban could kill us. That will definitely happen. Thank you Federal Republic of Germany and many thanks to Ms. Merkel,” says Zalmai A.
He says he has pregnant women, babies and children in his group. “I don’t know what to do,” says Zalmai A. He can’t stay in Kabul, he can’t go out into the streets. “I have no other way out.”