Germany temporarily halts development aid for Afghanistan, evacuation continues
Germany on Tuesday temporarily halted development aid for war-torn Afghanistan. The country’s development minister said work was underway to evacuate all those individuals from Afghanistan, including local development officials and NGO workers, who want to leave following the Taliban’s swift return to power.
"State cooperation on development is suspended for the time being. We are working at a pace to evacuate from Afghanistan, those local development officials and NGO workers who want to leave," Development Minister Gerd Mueller said in an interview with the Rheinische Post newspaper.
Earlier in the day, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said chaotic scenes at Kabul airport where thousands of desperate Afghans gathered to flee the country were shameful for the “political West".
Calling the Afghanistan crisis a "human tragedy for which we share responsibility". Steinmeier said Germany is duty-bound to "do everything it can to bring our people, and all Afghans who stood for years by their side, to safety".
It will also extend help to those in Afghanistan who are at risk, including "many courageous women", said Steinmeier, who was previously foreign minister.
"The failure of the years-long efforts to build a stable and viable society in Afghanistan raises fundamental questions for the past and future of our foreign policy and military engagement," he said.
German forces were deployed for almost two decades in Afghanistan as part of the US-led NATO operation.
The 150,000 men and women sent by Germany at various points over the years made it the second biggest contributor of NATO troops there, after the United States.
Germany withdrew its last troops at the end of June following Washington's decision to leave the country.
(With agency inputs)