Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to bring local personnel to safety | Free press

Berlin (AP) – Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to get threatened Afghan helpers from the Bundeswehr to Germany in a simplified and quick way before the withdrawal.

“We are talking about people who, in some cases, worked at our side for years at risk to their own safety, also fought and made their personal contribution,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer of the German news agency in Berlin. “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.”

Talks were already underway within the federal government, the CDU politician said. “I believe that we as a federal government should look at this very carefully, and I know that I particularly agree with the Federal State Department.” She also consults with the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU). ‘Now it’s about the procedures. To find out how dangerous the situation was, who could be covered by this provision, what about the families. We need to clarify these questions quickly, ”she said.

The Ministry of the Interior informed “Welt am Sonntag” that the federal government would set up an office in Kabul and probably also in the region around Mazar-i-Sharif as a point of contact, “to better organize and handle procedures. easily in the interest of those affected ». The goal is for Afghan workers to “continue to have the opportunity to report their threat within two years of termination of service”.

On Wednesday, NATO decided to initiate the withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1. Previously, the US, as the largest supplier of troops, had set the withdrawal date for September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks by the Islamic Al-Qaeda network in the US. The Bundeswehr will be withdrawn in mid-August. With 1,100 soldiers, Germany provides the second largest contingent after the US in NATO’s 10,000-strong force.

There is already a procedure to hire the so-called local staff, but there are still a number of controversial matters and now a new situation. According to the Ministry of Defense, 781 local staff have been hired in Germany since the start of the local personnel procedure in 2013. The German contingent “Resolute Support” currently employs approximately 300 local staff.

“This is a topic that is very important to me and that also worries me,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. You have spoken with local employees in the country yourself. It is an obligation not only of the Bundeswehr, but of all international forces on the ground to ensure the safety of workers. “From my point of view, we have a different situation because we are not talking about changing a mission, but a goal,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. “And that could mean a different security situation and a different assessment.”

Regarding the alliance’s decision to withdraw, she said: “The NATO meeting on Wednesday was somewhat surreal: we discussed two hours by video conference and sealed the end of the 20-year mission in Afghanistan. And despite the digital distance of the format, I was captivated by the emotionality of the moment and I am still moving! “

Kramp-Karrenbauer is concerned that there is now a withdrawal without a peace settlement between the Kabul government and the Taliban. “That worries me a lot,” she said. “In my opinion, this peace process was weakened when the Trump administration signed the agreement with the Taliban – with a fixed withdrawal date and without the intervention of the Afghan government,” she said. “Unfortunately, we saw that the Taliban had that as a bargaining chip. That now meant that they were not ready to start another attempt – in Istanbul, for example. “

She expressed sympathy for the stance of President Joe Biden’s new US administration, which had probed the chances of a peace settlement. “Don’t forget, this is a mission for the Americans, a 20-year war that claimed the lives of more than 2,000 soldiers, cost a trillion dollars, and injured countless thousands,” said Kramp. – Karrenbauer. “The US is fed up with this mission and was specifically faced with the question of whether it could really get back into a hot phase of the conflict.” When weighing in, Biden said, “We don’t want that from ourselves or the people of America again. I think you can understand that. “

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