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Bundeswehr sent to evacuate German citizens from Afghanistan

Bundeswehr sent to evacuate German citizens from Afghanistan

Bundeswehr sent to evacuate German citizens from Afghanistan

After Taliban insurgents stormed the city of Kabul on Sunday and declared Afghanistan under their control, Germany has begun the hasty evacuation of its citizens. 

Evacuation of German citizens begins in Afghanistan

On Monday night, 40 employees from the German embassy left Afghanistan in a US military plane, arriving in Doha in Qatar. Four diplomats from Switzerland were also on board. A few hours later, the Bundeswehr sent its first plane to Afghanistan to rescue German citizens and local Afghan staff who have previously worked with or are still working with the Bundeswehr or other federal ministries in Afghanistan. 

The transport plane left an air base in Lower Saxony in the early hours of Monday morning. It is probably the Bundeswehr’s largest evacuation mission to date. “One thing is certain: It is a dangerous mission for our soldiers,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The rescued German citizens will initially be taken to Uzbekistan before heading to Germany with civilian transportation.

Taliban take Kabul at lightning speed

The Bundeswehr only withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of June after a 20-year deployment. In the past few days, the Taliban have stormed through Afghanistan at lightning speed, with one city after another falling to their insurgents, some of them without a fight. 

On Sunday, Taliban fighters entered the capital city of Kabul and stormed the presidential palace. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The Taliban has now declared that “war is over in Afghanistan” and is expected to soon announce the forming of a new government. All foreigners in the capital were informed that they were required to vacate the city in the coming days or be forced to register themselves with the Taliban. 

In view of the precarious situation, on Friday the German federal government decided to reduce staffing levels at its embassy to a minimum, and on Sunday all employees were taken to the airport in Kabul, where they joined thousands of others attempting to flee the country. 

The total number of German citizens still in Kabul on Sunday is estimated to be more than 100. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that an “operational core team” from the embassy in Kabul would remain at the airport to keep the embassy in working order and oversee further evacuation measures. “We are now doing everything we can to enable our nationals and our former local staff to leave the country in the coming days,” he said. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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