- Title: Germany's Merkel says will not forget those left behind in Kabul
- Date: 26th August 2021
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL ARRIVING FOR MEETING WITH GLOBAL FINANCE LEADERS PHOTOGRAPHER (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "This afternoon we received news of explosions in front of Kabul airport. We assume that it was a suicide attack or some suicide attacks. There have been warnings about this coming in over the last few days and that it has now actually happened is of course terrible news. We don't know all the details yet but the terrorists targeted people who were waiting in front of the gates of the airport hoping to be evacuated. They were hoping for security and freedom and this is why this is a despicable attack in a very tense situation. And at this time I am of course thinking about the victims and their relatives." MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I hope that the necessary medical aid gets there quickly. And we know and have heard that U.S. soldiers have been hit and I want to say again here just how outstanding the collaboration of the U.S. soldiers has been with the international community in the efforts to get foreign nationals and Afghan civilians out." MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "We see in this attack this afternoon that the risk is immense and that this is a very high pressure situation under which people are trying to get the people evacuated and to maintain the air bridge. We know that the window of opportunity is closing. Tens of thousands of people have been rescued but I want to say again today: we will not forget those people who could not be rescued by the air bridge, rather we will do everything we can to enable their evacuation. We are in negotiations with the Taliban, being carried out by the foreign ministry, especially (German) Ambassador (Markus) Potzel, and there will be international coordination as to how to proceed." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE FINANCE LEADERS LISTENING MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "Today we have ended the air bridge and we are in urgent discussions with the Taliban as to how we can make further evacuations possible. Ambassador Potzel commented on this yesterday that of course everything depends on the security situation. If there are still German nationals there it is also still an international matter and at the moment the U.S. are still in the airport, so we will continue to work together." VARIOUS OF MERKEL SPEAKING
- Embargoed: 9th September 2021 17:53
- Keywords: Afghanistan Kabul Taliban airport evacuations explosion withdrawal
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERX4RBB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Germany will continue to help people who want to leave Afghanistan, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday after suspected suicide bombers struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport with at least two explosions.
"We do not know all the details yet, but the terrorists were targeting people waiting outside the airport gates, hoping to leave," Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin, adding, "this is an absolutely despicable attack in a very tense situation."
No Germans were wounded in the attack but there are reports that U.S. soldiers were among the victims.
Merkel, who had with other international leaders hoped for an extension of the Kabul air bridge thanked U.S. soldiers for their 'outstanding' handling of the airport mission.
The German government and its allies in the NATO military alliance have been criticized for failing to predict that the Taliban would take control of the country quickly as foreign troops started to pull out.
The international community is now negotiating with the Taliban to try and enable further evacuations via civilian means.
"We know that the window of opportunity is closing. Tens of thousands of people have been rescued but I want to say again today: we will not forget those people who could not be rescued by the air bridge rather we will do everything we can to enable their evacuation. We are in negotiations with the Taliban, being carried out by the foreign ministry, especially Ambassador Potzel and there will be international coordination as to how to proceed," Merkel said.
A Taliban offensive - as foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year war - culminated with the capture of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15.
The Taliban have said they will respect human rights and will not allow terrorists to operate from the country. The group has also encouraged aid organizations to continue their work, saying aid was welcome as long as it was not used as a means of political influence over Afghanistan.
As of Thursday evening the Bundeswehr had evacuated 5347 people from 45 different nations, these included 500 Germans and 4000 Afghans.
(Production: Tanya Wood, Oliver Barth, Zoltan Bertha)
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