Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Ausschuss zu Afghanistan im Bundestag: Berlin und die unterschätzten Taliban

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Tageszeitung, 2 February 2024

In this op-ed for the Berlin-based daily, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reports about the two most recent hearing session in the German Bundestag’s (parliament) special enquiry committee on Germany’s part in the last 19 months (between the Doha agreement and the withdrawal of the final western troop) of the Afghanistan mission. He says that answer starts to be form on central questions there: Why parts of the federal government reacted relatively calmly to the Taleban’s advance in the summer of 2021, why Berlin only allowed German embassy staff to evacuate from Kabul at the last minute and delayed the flight for thousands of Afghan local staff. He reports that if became clear that there was obviously a political decision that the embassy should not be evacuated at all, but remain operational as German diplomats in Berlin believed the Taleban were no threat for the embassy and the German government’ development agency GIZ was planning to continue working. Furthermore, one day before the fall of Kabul, German intelligence assumed that they still had at least four weeks before a Taleban takeover. Germany also was – as one diplomat put it – “trying to simulate crisis-free normal operations” – in which Berlin was also interested in order to be able to continue deporting rejected Afghan asylum seekers and was arguing there still were “safe areas” in Afghanistan. Germany had planned a last deportation flight on 4 August, then on 10 August, few days before the fall of Kabul.