Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Bundeswehr rescue mission
Bundestag gives the green light for Kabul deployment
For more than a week, the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan has been dealing with the consequences of the hasty withdrawal. Tens of thousands are fleeing the Taliban. German soldiers fly many of them out of the country. The Bundestag subsequently approves the deployment.
The Bundestag subsequently approved the evacuation operation of the Bundeswehr. In a roll-call vote, 539 MPs voted in favor of the Federal Government’s proposal. Nine parliamentarians voted against this and 90 abstained. Up to 600 Bundeswehr soldiers can be deployed, the deployment should last until September 30th at the latest. However, given the imminent withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr’s evacuation flights are expected to end soon.
The day before, the left-wing parliamentary group had decided to abstain due to some criticisms of the mandate text. However, a first deviator had already spoken out before the vote and publicly announced his approval.
With the mandate, the Bundestag subsequently creates the legal basis for the operation. Parliament must approve every armed deployment by the Bundeswehr. In exceptional cases, this is also possible retrospectively, especially if there is imminent danger. In the view of the Federal Government, this applies to the evacuation of German citizens and Afghan aid workers from the Federal Armed Forces and Federal Ministries.
It is a so-called robust mandate, which also allows the use of military force, “in particular to protect the people to be evacuated and our own forces, as well as in the context of emergency aid”. The government has estimated the additional expenditure for the Bundeswehr at 40 million euros.
Almost 5000 people flown out
According to the Defense Ministry, the Bundeswehr evacuated a total of 4,850 people from Afghanistan by Wednesday noon – mostly Afghans in need of protection, but also more than 500 German citizens. In this context, Merkel spoke in the Bundestag of the “largest evacuation operation in the history of the Bundeswehr”.
Because the US armed forces want to leave the country by August 31, the evacuation mission will be ended in the next few days. Around 500 soldiers are currently deployed in Kabul and Tashkent.
Paratroopers trained for evacuations, the KSK elite unit, as well as military police, paramedics and air force crews are deployed. The mission is considered to be the Bundeswehr’s largest evacuation mission to date.
The operation began on Monday of last week with the dispatch of evacuation machines of the type A400M to Kabul, which are now flying out to neighboring Uzbekistan in addition to German citizens and Afghans. There they change to Lufthansa civil aircraft.