Afghanistan: The situation at the airport in Kabul is coming to a head, gate closings again and again

Afghanistan: The situation at the airport in Kabul is coming to a head, gate closings again and again

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Afghanistan: The situation at the airport in Kabul is coming to a head, gate closings again and again

Updated: 08/21/202116:14

During their rescue operations in Afghanistan, Germany and other NATO countries are confronted with a dangerously worsening security situation at Kabul airport.

Kabul – The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, Eberhard Zorn, spoke on Saturday of a “difficult” and “dynamic” situation, especially in front of the airport gates. That is why there are always gate closings. In view of the dramatic situation since the Taliban came to power, criticism of Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) in particular is growing.

Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) said on Saturday that despite the difficult situation, work was being done to get as many people “as possible” from Afghanistan to safety. According to Zorn, a German machine with relief supplies such as water and baby food was put together to ease the situation at the airport. Thousands of people are currently waiting at the airport at temperatures of more than 30 degrees.

The Bundeswehr continued its evacuation flights over the airlift between Kabul and Tashkent on Saturday. At around 11.00 a.m. (CEST), an A400M took off with only eight vulnerable people from Kabul. According to Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Bundeswehr flew almost 2,000 people from Kabul by Saturday.

How dangerous and chaotic the situation around the airport is was shown by the fact that US soldiers had to fly off in helicopters to bring 169 people safely to the airport on Friday. The reason was a “large crowd” in front of the airport, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The Bundeswehr also sent two helicopters to Kabul, which, according to Kramp-Karrenbauer, were ready to take off on Saturday. The exact use of the helicopters is carried out in coordination with the international partners in Kabul. “That is the responsibility and freedom of those who have to decide on the spot.”

A German was shot on the way to the airport on Friday. He was not seriously injured. Another German suffered minor injuries near the airport, according to ZDF information.

The USA is now also using the Ramstein Air Force Base in Rhineland-Palatinate as a hub for its rescue flights from Kabul. According to a spokeswoman for the base, eleven machines with around 1,150 people landed there by late Saturday morning. Before continuing, they would receive medical care in Ramstein in “a few days”.

According to a “Spiegel” report, Afghans who have flown out of Germany and who have not yet had a residence permit will initially receive a visa for 90 days. Your status should be clarified during this time. In addition to local staff, who are often already on lists of the federal government, women and human rights activists are also to be flown out. The Left called for family members of Afghans already living in Germany to be accepted.

In view of the dramatic situation, Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock attacked the federal government sharply. “I see a huge failure,” she told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, especially with a view to Foreign Minister Maas and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). For months it had been clear that local Afghan workers needed protection. The left also spoke of a “total failure” of the Maas and other ministers.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) admitted misjudgments at an election campaign event of the Union. “The Afghan government and army have collapsed at a breathtaking rate,” she said.

Meanwhile, it remained unclear what exactly the future Taliban leadership in Afghanistan should look like. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar traveled to Kabul to discuss the formation of a government. The aim is to form an “inclusive government,” said a Taliban representative from the AFP news agency. Baradar is traded as a possible new head of government of the Taliban.

Officials from the previous government have reported that Taliban fighters have kept them from work. Official Hamdullah said Taliban fighters stationed outside his office told him to “watch on TV or radio when I should return to work.”

isd / jes