Taliban conquer another city – Minister defends withdrawal | free press

Kabul (AP) – Despite the alarming advance of the militant Islamist Taliban, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer defended the Bundeswehr’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

During its nearly 20-year mission, the Bundeswehr carried out all the orders the Bundestag had given it, she said Monday. When asked for renewed military intervention, she replied saying, “Anyone who wants to defeat the Taliban permanently would have to carry out a very tough and long combat mission.” The CDU politician wondered whether the parliament and society in Germany were ready for this.

Meanwhile, Aibak in the province of Samangan in northern Afghanistan, the sixth provincial capital fell into the hands of the Islamists. By the weekend, they had already brought Kunduz under their control, where the Bundeswehr had been waging a loss-making battle against the Taliban for years.

The chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen, then brought a new military operation into play. In an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, the CDU politician appealed to the international community to stop the advance of the Taliban – if necessary with the participation of the Bundeswehr.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said: “Are society and parliament ready to send the Bundeswehr to war and stay there for at least another generation with many troops? If we don’t, then the joint withdrawal with the partners remains the right decision.” The reports from Kunduz and all over Afghanistan are “bitter and hurt a lot”. In their opinion, the Taliban would have struck, even if the Bundeswehr was still in the country.

The Taliban continue their military offensive. After the capture of Aibak, county councilor Machboba Rahmat said security forces simply left the city, which is estimated to have a population of 120,000. Before that, they had unsuccessfully asked the Ministry of Defense for air strikes. “They thought that if the government didn’t pay attention to them, they wouldn’t risk their lives for the government,” Rahmat said. The security forces had fled to a hill on the outskirts of the city.

The Islamists captured six provincial capitals within four days, most of them in the north of the country. According to a provincial council, they occupied other government institutions in Kunduz on Monday, such as the attorney general’s office or the human rights office. Civilians were killed and injured during the fighting, but exact figures are not yet available.

The governor of Kunduz, police and intelligence chiefs are in the base of the 217th Army Corps. The fighting would continue in the suburbs in the area around the airport and the Corps. Dozens of families who had previously fled their districts before fighting and were housed in a school had to flee from there again. A total of 5,000 cars left the city in the direction of Kabul.

Given the rising number of casualties in Afghanistan, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths called for the protection of the civilian population. More than 1,000 people were killed or injured in attacks in the conflict provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Herat in July alone, he reported Monday. The United Nations children’s aid agency Unicef ​​was shocked Monday by the daily increase in atrocities in the conflict. In three provinces of the country, 27 children were killed and 136 injured within 72 hours.

The number of internally displaced persons has also risen sharply since the beginning of May. By the end of July, nearly a quarter of a million people in the country had left their towns and cities. More than 244,000 people have been displaced, according to data from the United Nations Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), more than four times as many as in the same period last year.

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