Correspondent in Berlin
“As the situation is what it is, we are now concentrating on evacuating from Kabul airport, but we will maintain our commitment to German citizens, Afghans who worked for us and with whom their safety is compromised, especially women, and to We are ready, if necessary, to talk to the Taliban. ” Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended before the plenary session of the German parliament, which he attended this morning to give an account of the evacuation operation and answer questions from the opposition, that “the end of the airlift in a few days, after President Biden has refused to extend the term, it cannot mean the end of our efforts to get those who trust us out of there and to continue helping a population that needs more support now than ever.
The German Government will end military evacuations from Kabul airport before this Saturday, August 28, as confirmed by the DPA news agency. So far, the German Army has evacuated 4,654 people in military planes, 983 in the last day.
As announced by the country’s Foreign Ministry on Twitter, about 3,700 of the evacuees are of Afghan origin and, of these, about 50 percent are women and girls.
Merkel has specified that the dialogue with the taliban “Cannot be unconditional.” “It will be difficult, but we have to try,” he insisted, and fixed the three points of the current position of the German government on the Afghan crisis: prolong the evacuation as long as possible, support international agencies on the ground, very especially to UNHCR, and from the EU, and to establish communication channels with the Taliban that will allow us to continue supporting the Afghan population.
Merkel has asked the Bundestag for authorization to deployment of up to 500 soldiers in the evacuation mission that is being carried out from the Kabul airport and that should continue, beyond August 31, “through civil airports” yet to be determined.
It has clarified that Germany does not follow any path on its own, but acts in coordination with the partners of the OTAN and the EU. In this sense, he has reported on his telephone conversations with the heads of government of Pakistan and of Turkey, to offer support in the organization of refugees leaving by land from Afghanistan towards neighboring countries. He has also held talks with Putin and with the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who have pledged to continue supporting development in the country.
The Almena foreign minister has acknowledged that the West misjudged the situation in Afghanistan, but has made a relatively positive assessment of the 20 years of international mission, recalling, for example, that 90% of Afghans now have electricity, when in 2001 it was only 20 %.
Response to criticism from the opposition
To criticism from the opposition, especially from the party The Greens, he recalled that he was the Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer, belonging precisely to this party and who was part of the coalition with the Chancellor’s Social Democrats Gerhard Schröder, who appealed in November 2001 to the international commitment of Germany. “In a few weeks we will celebrate the anniversary of 9/11,” he said, the date after which Germany joined the international mission in Afghanistan under article 5 of the NATO Treaty and “in solidarity with our American friends.” “The objectives of that mission were to create the foundations for democracy, freedom, train police officers and journalists, provide the country with infrastructure … they were and continue to be admirable objectives,” he valued.
He has also made self-criticism and has advanced that “it will take time to understand what we did wrong”, although he mentioned that “underestimating corruption in Afghanistan” could be among the failures.
And to the most repeated question by the opposition, why did Germany not begin to evacuate its personnel earlier? Merkel has responded by recalling that the presence of German personnel was guaranteeing, among many other things, the arrival of medicines and the supply of water and electricity to many populations that, once they leave there, will very possibly return to the same situation of misery that the international mission found on its arrival.