Germany wants to protect Afghan staff by offering refuge
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants Germany to offer refuge to the Afghan staff that helped the country in Afghanistan, German news agency DPA cited her as saying on Sunday.
During her interview, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Germany has "a deep obligation" to protect those who helped the military during its presence in Afghanistan to train the Afghan national defence forces as part of NATO.
As Germany is following the United States and NATO in withdrawing from Afghanistan this year, Kramp-Karrenbauer wants the process of giving residency to Afghan staff who needs protection to be eased and accelerated, she told DPA. According to the defence ministry, 781 people have benefited from this program since 2013.
"We are talking about people here who have worked alongside us, even at the risk of their own safety, for years in some cases, and have also fought alongside us and made their personal contribution," Kramp-Karrenbauer told DPA.
"I feel it is a deep obligation of the Federal Republic of Germany not to leave these people behind without protection now that we are finally leaving the country," she said, adding that other countries involved should also think about their local employees' safety when leaving.
With peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban at a deadlock, fears are rampant that a power vacuum left by Washington's departure could also threaten key gains in the fields of human rights, in particular women's rights, education and press freedom.
"President Joe Biden's announcement of a withdrawal of US forces has raised fears that further insecurity may erode important gains in human rights that have allowed Afghans, women and girls in particular, to enjoy greater freedoms and better education and health," said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch.
After much deliberation, Biden had announced that in line with the former Trump administration's agreement with the Taliban, the withdrawal of US troops would commence on 1 May 2021, and be completed by 11 September.
With the Afghan government likely to find it difficult to control outcomes on the battlefield, the Taliban is already sensing victory.
The German troops count for 1,1000 of the around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.