Afghanistan: Most local workers want to go to Germany | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – Before the Bundeswehr withdrew from Afghanistan, many of the local workers want protection in Germany.

According to information from the German news agency, more than 450 of the so-called local employees currently working in the country or in the past two years have filed a corresponding application. That’s more than 80 percent of the people in this group. Family members usually join them.

In addition, there are about 300 requests from Afghans who previously worked as helpers, but who did not report a threat within the applicable two-year period. These can also be employees of contract companies that were not directly employed by the Bundeswehr. How and whether their affairs should be reassessed is a decision that has not yet been made politically.

The Bundeswehr provides administrative assistance to the organization in Afghanistan. This also includes data collection and biometric identifiers. These are necessary for the issue of a visa or a passport replacement – a so-called travel document for foreigners. In Germany, however, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Federal Ministry of the Interior decide whether to accept individual men or women as part of the local personnel program.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) had called for a quick procedure in April. “We are talking about people who, in some cases, worked by our side for years at risk to their own safety, who also fought and made their personal contribution,” she said. “I think it is a deep obligation of the Federal Republic of Germany not to leave these people defenseless now that we are finally leaving the country.”

Experts warned last week that time is running out. In an open letter circulated on Friday, scientists, former diplomats and officers demanded unbureaucratic and swift admission of those affected to Germany, in parallel with the withdrawal. “The Taliban have repeatedly made it clear that they see these local workers as collaborators with the West, whom they want to hold to account as supporters of a military occupation regime,” the letter said.

It is to be feared that those at risk could be left defenseless, the signatories warn. And: “If you really want an effective admission, you can only implement an unbureaucratic procedure for all the local staff and their relatives who worked for German offices for the remaining weeks: public announcement of the admission program, registration, preparation for departure, what happens if possible, while the Bundeswehr is still in the country, should operate charter flights if necessary. “

According to figures from the Ministry of Defense, nearly 800 local employees plus family members have been admitted to Germany since 2013, the letter said. However, only 15 additional admissions were made between 2014 and 2021, although the security situation has deteriorated. The signatories also include several politicians and former commanders of the Bundeswehr Operational Command.

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