Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (15 August) on the situation in Afghanistan:
The reports and images currently reaching us from Afghanistan are really hard to bear. We and the rest of the world have to witness how quickly the Taliban have taken over control and how little resistance the Afghan armed forces have been able to put up. Some parts of the Afghan Government are already abroad, have left the country, and the Taliban are about to seize power.
In this situation, the absolute priority must be the safety of our nationals, our Embassy staff, as well as those people we have worked with in Afghanistan during the last few years.
We therefore decided this morning to move our Embassy personnel to a militarily secured section of Kabul airport. Our colleagues are now there and in safety. We have just spoken to them during a session of the crisis unit and thanked them once more for the difficult work they are doing at present. Some of them will be flown out of Kabul in the course of the day.
We also decided in the crisis unit this afternoon that Bundeswehr aircraft will take off for Kabul tonight. They will be used to assist in and carry out necessary evacuations in the coming days. These Bundeswehr military aircraft will initially fly from Kabul to a neighbouring country. Civilian aircraft will be provided for the subsequent transport from there to Germany.
An operational core team of the Embassy’s staff will remain in Kabul, at the site in Kabul airport where our colleagues are currently located, in order to ensure the operability required to support further evacuations in the next few days.
We are now doing everything we can to enable our nationals and former local employees to leave the country in the coming days. However, the conditions under which this can take place are difficult to foresee at present.
We are therefore in close contact with the United States and other international partners. We have agreed to support each other in carrying out evacuation measures in the coming days. We have assisted others and we will accept their help in the days ahead. I would like to expressly thank our international partners for this close cooperation.