Defence minister wants Germany to take in Afghans who helped military

Germany’s defence minister said she wants the country to take in Afghans who helped German forces during the war in Afghanistan and whose lives may be at risk.

Talks are already under way within the government to figure out a streamlined and accelerated solution to approving applications, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told dpa.

“We are talking about people here who have worked alongside us, even at the risk of their own safety, for years in some cases, and have also fought alongside us and made their personal contribution,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

“I feel it is a deep obligation of the Federal Republic of Germany not to leave these people behind without protection now that we are finally leaving the country.”

A procedure for admitting local Afghan staff already exists, although there are a number of disputed cases and Kramp-Karrenbauer wants the process to be more efficient.

The German armed forces currently employ about 300 people in Afghanistan.

A change in the status of these employees is looming with the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan. Germany plans to pull out its contingent from NATO’s Resolute Support mission by mid-August.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said it was not only an obligation of Germany’s Bundeswehr, but of all international forces on the ground, to ensure the safety of the local personnel who have supported them.

There are currently about 10,000 soldiers from NATO and its partner countries in Afghanistan.

Uncertainty surrounds the US-led pull-out of foreign forces and there are fears the departure of the troops could embolden the Taliban, leading to further bloodshed.

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