Germany ends Afghanistan airlift amid worsening security situation
Germany’s last evacuation flight left the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday, five days before the August 31 deadline. The Ministry of Defence said, in view of the worsening security situation in Kabul which saw at least 90 people killed in blasts outside the airport on Thursday, it was not possible to extend the evacuation operations.
Last German rescue flight leaves Afghanistan
“All soldiers, members of the foreign ministry and federal police who have led this mission to a safe end for us on the ground have been flown out of Kabul,” German Defence Minister Annagret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Thursday, confirming that the evacuation mission had ended.
In total, Germany has managed to safely evacuate more than 5.300 people, including at least 4.000 Afghans. It’s not clear how many have been left behind, but the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that around 200 German citizens were still believed to be in Kabul, a number that kept rising as more people reported themselves to the ministry.
Attacks in Kabul make extension to German airlift impossible
Shortly after the last transport aircraft landed safely in Frankfurt, the largest airport in Germany, the Ministry of Defence said on Twitter that it was unable to extend the airlift due to the security situation in Kabul.
Yesterday, more than 90 people were killed, and more than 150 wounded, in two explosions in the vicinity of Kabul airport, including US military service personnel, civilians and children. The attacks deliberately targeted the crowds of people waiting to be processed to leave Kabul on an evacuation flight. German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attack as “heinous."
Kramp-Karrenbauer said the bombings made it clear “that an extension of the operation in Kabul was not possible.” However, according to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the federal government is still working to create “exit opportunities” for remaining local staff and people who are particularly at risk. “The military operation has now ended. But our work will continue - until everyone for whom we are responsible in Afghanistan is safe.”