Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (29 August) prior to his trip to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Qatar:
The efforts of the past two weeks to evacuate German nationals, Afghan local staff and further people in need of protection from Afghanistan were – and continue to be – a enormous task in which many partners have been involved. On the ground, countless people continue to hold out hope to be able to leave the country, and the situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable and dangerous. The attacks at the airport in Kabul show us how great the danger of a resurgence of international terrorism is. A political vacuum has emerged into which ISIS-K and other terrorists are now seeking to make inroads with terrifying speed.
Not only Afghans but also the neighbouring countries are facing challenges that they are barely able to deal with alone as a result of these developments.
I am travelling to the region today to make it clear that Germany’s engagement is not ending with the conclusion of the military evacuation mission. We have been able to rely on international cooperation and support in recent weeks. Some of the countries that I am travelling to today have played a considerable part in ensuring the success of our evacuation mission and in enabling more than 5000 people to leave Afghanistan on Bundeswehr flights. On behalf of the Federal Government, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and to work to ensure that this international cooperation continues also in the critical phase that is beginning now.
This includes reaching agreement with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries on how Germans, our local staff and further Afghans in need of protection can get to Germany quickly and safely. This includes the question as to how the airport can be swiftly opened up for civilian operations once more, as well as adopting a coordinated international approach to the Taliban.
Our offer of support to the neighbouring countries to assist them with coping with the humanitarian and economic fallout is also part of this. It is in our own interests to ensure that the collapse in Afghanistan does not destabilise the entire region.