- Title: German military aircraft to head to Afghanistan tonight for evacuation
- Date: 15th August 2021
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (AUGUST 15, 2021) (CORONA POOL) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS ARRIVING FOR STATEMENT WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "We have also decided with the crisis team this afternoon that German military aircraft will leave for Kabul tonight to help with the necessary evacuation work and then also to carry it out in the coming days. The flights, which will be operationalised by the Bundeswehr with military aircraft, will first take place from Kabul to a neighbouring country. And for the following transport from there to Germany, we will also provide civilian aircraft." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "A core team of the embassy will remain in Kabul, in the same place where our colleagues are now accommodated at the airport, in order to maintain the necessary working and operational capacity to accompany further in the coming days. We are doing everything to enable our citizens and our former local staff to leave Afghanistan within the next days. However, the circumstances under which this can take place are difficult to predict at the moment." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HEIKO MAAS, SAYING: "That is why we are also in close exchange with the USA and other international partners and have agreed that we will provide mutual support to each other in the evacuation efforts in the coming days. We have provided support to others and we accept their support in the coming days. And I would like to thank our international partners for this close cooperation. Thank you very much." MAAS LEAVING BONN, GERMANY (AUGUST 15, 2021) (CORONA POOL- ACCESS ALL) GERMAN DEFENCE MINISTER, ANNEGRET KRAMP-KARRENBAUER, ARRIVING FOR STATEMENT WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN DEFENCE MINISTER ANNEGRET KRAMP-KARRENBAUER, SAYING: "We will also use the A400M transport plane for this purpose. As I said, the first ones will move from Wunstorf tonight in the early morning. We will set up a hub and if you like, a shuttle or an air bridge in a third country outside Afghanistan. From this place in the neutral third country, the evacuees will then be brought on to Germany by civilian aircraft under the direction of the foreign ministry. This operation in which we are now engaged involves in particular the forces of the Group Division Fast Forces. As I said, we are prepared for all scenarios and we know that this is a very difficult situation for the people on the ground, but also for the soldiers. It is a dangerous mission in which we are now sending them. And I would like to ask everyone in Germany to keep our soldiers and the people on the ground in their thoughts, who we are now bringing to Germany, but also those who will remain in Afghanistan during what will certainly be a difficult time."
- Embargoed: 29th August 2021 19:36
- Keywords: Afghanistan German citizen German embassy Kabul Taliban evacuation local helpers
- Location: BERLIN & BONN & WUNSTORF, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN & BONN & WUNSTORF, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe,International/National Security
- Reuters ID: LVA001EQE4V2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Germany on Sunday (August 15) shuttered its embassy in Kabul and prepared to send A400M military transport planes to Afghanistan to evacuate as many Germans and local Afghan helpers as possible, after Taliban insurgents entered the Afghan capital.
"We are doing everything to enable our citizens and our former local staff to leave Afghanistan within the next days," German foreign minister Heiko Maas told journalists on Sunday.
Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday and said they expected to take power within days, prompting the German government to speed up evacuations.
German embassy staff have already been moved to a military part of Kabul airport, Maas said. Core staff will remain there in the coming days to help with further evacuations, he added.
Defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said military aircraft would leave German air base Wunstorf on Sunday night and Monday (August 16) morning to head to Kabul.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the two planes will take evacuated people to Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. Maas had said only that they would go to a country neighbouring Afghanistan.
From there, the people will be taken to Germany on board civilian charter aircraft, he said.
Germany, the United States, and other international partners have agreed to support each other in their evacuation efforts, he said.
The foreign ministry had said on Friday (August 13) that fewer than 100 Germans remained in Afghanistan beyond the government officials still working there. It was still unclear on Sunday how many local helpers would be flown out.
A government source spoke of at least 1,000 former Afghan employees, including close family members, but added that this was only a rough estimate.
A support network founded by German troops put the number of those eligible for relocation under government rules at 2,000 people.
(Production: Ulrike Heil)
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