Ever since the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, violence and hunger have been the order of the day. People who work for German agencies are also at risk. The federal government wants to give them hope.
A year after the militant Islamist Taliban returned to power, the German government has assured all local staff who once worked for German agencies that they can still leave Afghanistan. “We will not leave the Afghan local staff behind,” wrote Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) on Twitter on Sunday.
Several thousand people are still waiting to leave the country where violence and hunger reign supreme, women’s basic rights are restricted and journalists are persecuted and intimidated. The Taliban declared a holiday for the anniversary of the takeover on Monday – for them it symbolizes the “victory” over the USA and its allies.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) also lamented the suffering of the people since the change of power. “Since then, the rule of the Taliban has settled like a dark veil over Afghanistan,” said the Green politician on Sunday in Berlin about the past year since the takeover. “For women and girls, this means life like in prison.” After the end of the military operation, the international community now has a responsibility for Afghan civil society.
A year ago, the Taliban gradually took control of the country without any significant resistance from the Afghan armed forces. This was preceded by the withdrawal of NATO troops. After the capture of Kabul on August 15, an international military evacuation operation took place, in which Germany also took part. Dramatic scenes played out at the capital’s airport when many people wanted to leave the country.People
How many people can still leave the country?
So far, 15,759 Afghan local workers and family members have been brought to Germany, Faeser told the “Bild am Sonntag”. She did not give an exact figure for how many more people are still planning to leave the country. The local staff used to work, for example, as civilian helpers for the German armed forces or as interpreters.
According to information from last week, Germany has assured a total of 23,614 local workers and relatives since the withdrawal of NATO troops. More than 7,800 people are likely to be affected. However, the departures are currently progressing more slowly than planned. The federal government also blames the militant Islamists who prevented people from leaving the country. Baerbock stressed that together with Faeser she will “soon” present a program that should focus on the most vulnerable people, especially women and girls. In addition, humanitarian aid for people in Afghanistan will be increased again.
No country has yet recognized the Taliban’s de facto government. The Taliban have failed to establish an inclusive political system, thereby disregarding the aspirations of the Afghan people, said EU Commission spokeswoman Nabila Massrali. She complained about serious violations of the rights of women and girls.
Women demand more rights
In recent days, women in Afghanistan have increasingly taken to the streets to denounce the restrictions on their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. The Taliban broke up a peaceful protest by dozens of women for food, work and freedom in Kabul on Saturday with warning shots. Footage on social media showed Taliban firing shots and physically attacking women.
Also on Saturday, four people, including two Taliban, were injured when a bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded in western Kabul, a security official told Tolo News. It was initially unclear who was responsible for the incident. The terrorist network Islamic State, which is hostile to the Taliban, has repeatedly carried out attacks in the country.
The UN children’s aid organization Unicef describes the supply in the country as catastrophic and complains about the massive underfunding of aid for the population. “More than a million children are critically malnourished,” wrote the Managing Director of Unicef Germany, Christian Schneider, in the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” (Saturday).
Faeser rules out repatriations
With reference to the situation in the country, Faeser assured that there would be no so-called returns there in the foreseeable future. “The deportations to Afghanistan are currently on hold – and given the current situation there, it will certainly have to stay that way,” she told the “Bild am Sonntag”.
The refugee organization Pro Asyl called on the federal government to implement projects laid down in the coalition agreement, such as the reform of the local staff procedure and a humanitarian admission program. Humanitarian visas would also have to be issued continuously and family reunification accelerated. “Every day of waiting is a day of mortal danger for the people affected,” warned Managing Director Günter Burkhardt. Faeser said in the “BamS” interview that she was working with Foreign Minister Baerbock on the admissions program.
Kine free press
Under Taliban rule, journalists live much more dangerously than before. On Saturday, for example, one Afghan and three foreign journalists, including some from Germany, were arrested during the women’s protests. They were released after more than four hours, a spokesman for the Association of Independent Journalists in Afghanistan (AIJA) told the German Press Agency. The organization Reporters Without Borders complained that a good third of the around 550 active media in the country up to August 15, 2021 had been shut down. The number of journalists who work in the media has fallen by more than half to around 4,750 – women are particularly affected.