- Title: Germany failed to rescue half its local Afghan staff - German army officer
- Date: 27th August 2021
- Summary: EBERSWALDE, GERMANY (AUGUST 27, 2021) (REUTERS) BUNDESWEHR OFFICER MARCUS GROTIAN WHO FOUNDED A SUPPORT NETWORK FOR GERMAN ARMY'S LOCAL AFGHAN EMPLOYEES SEATED AT DESK, WORKING ON COMPUTER INTERNET SITE READING IN GERMAN "DEPARTURE FROM AFGHANISTAN / LOCAL STAFF OF GERMAN FOREIGN MISSIONS" GROTIAN'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (German) BUNDESWEHR OFFICER, MARCUS GROTIAN, SAYING: "I am very emotional about it and probably not the most neutral source but maybe this makes it more authentic: this is and was about human lives, people we wanted to take in and where we failed to take them to safety, as one of the world's richest nations. When you look at how much time and energy went into this mission and in the end, we failed to issue visas to 2,000 people who would have been entitled to one, that makes me speechless." GROTIAN'S FIST ON DESK GROTIAN SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) BUNDESWEHR OFFICER, MARCUS GROTIAN, SAYING: "If all the people with Afghan citizenship who were on those planes were local staff and their relatives -- and we know that was not the case -- we still left 50% of local staff behind, also because the number of people steadily increased in recent days. That led to them not having the slightest chance. The fact that two days ago it was decided that certain people were also entitled to apply or board a plane did not increase capacities or the chance for these people, which was close to zero. Hence, they are still there." GROTIAN'S FIST ON DESK (SOUNDBITE) (German) BUNDESWEHR OFFICER, MARCUS GROTIAN, SAYING: "We are aware that a local staff member's brother was reportedly shot to death by the Taliban. It's impossible to verify that but there are said to be acts of revenge but we don't know. What the situation in Afghanistan will be like in two, three or four weeks we dread to find out." GROTIAN SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) BUNDESWEHR OFFICER, MARCUS GROTIAN, SAYING: "Other nations found a solution in sending virtual visas which enabled local staff to at least show to that particular nation 'look, this is me, I'm entitled to apply, the documents are there and so are the contact details.' That would be one possibility, to hand them a document issued by us." INTERNET SITE READING IN GERMAN "DEPARTURE FROM AFGHANISTAN / LOCAL STAFF OF GERMAN FOREIGN MISSIONS"
- Embargoed: 10th September 2021 13:30
- Keywords: Afghanistan German army Bundeswehr officer Kabul airport local staff support network visas
- Location: EBERSWALDE, GERMANY
- City: EBERSWALDE, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA001ES20O5J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Germany failed in its attempt to rescue all its local staff from Afghanistan and "the time and energy" invested in the mission "makes me speechless," said a Bundeswehr German army officer on Friday (August 27).
Marcus Grotian, who founded a support network for the German army's Afghan employees, told Reuters outside Berlin that "if all the people with Afghan citizenship who were on those planes were local staff ... we still left 50% of them behind."
On June 10, Grotian accused Berlin of acting too slowly to get civilians who worked for the Bundeswehr out to Germany and that many who needed help were being left behind.
"It is good and right that we get a 27-ton memorial stone from Mazar-i-Sharif to Germany in twelve hours," Grotian said at the time, referring to the Afghan rock that commemorates fallen soldiers and now stands near Potsdam.
"Now with the local staff, we have to be just as fast ... they must be brought to safety," Grotian said in June.
Earlier on Friday, the Frankfurt arrival of an Uzbek chartered plane marked the end of a Bundeswehr mission in Kabul that succeeded in evacuating over 5,300 people including German and Afghan citizens.
Originally due to operate until August 31, the international operation was aborted after a series of suicide attacks at the gates of the airport on Thursday (August 26).
(Production: Oliver Barth, Michele Sani)
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