German officials speaking with Taliban representatives in Qatar, also engaged with int’l partners, says Foreign Ministry
BERLIN (AA) – Germany is in talks with the Taliban for an extension in the Aug. 31 deadline for evacuations from Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
The comment came amid media reports that Germany’s military wants to halt evacuations from Kabul by this Friday.
German officials are speaking with Taliban representatives in Qatar’s capital Doha to ensure that Afghans can still leave the country after Aug. 31, Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said at a news briefing in Berlin.
“We are talking not only with the Taliban on this issue but also with our international partners,” he said.
One option under consideration is that evacuations could continue through the civilian section of the airport in the capital Kabul, according to Burger.
Earlier, a report by the German news portal Business Insider quoted officials from the Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry as saying that Germany will stop airlifting people from Kabul imminently.
The decision is reportedly linked to US President Joe Biden’s plan to stick to the Aug. 31 deadline.
Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged on Tuesday that Germany could only continue evacuations from Kabul with the help of the US.
There is believed to be little hope in the Merkel government for some kind of extension after Biden’s statement.
The German military has flown out more than 4,850 people from Afghanistan so far, but thousands of more Afghans who assisted the country remain stuck with little chance of being airlifted.
According to the Business Insider report, NATO also announced internally a few days ago that the evacuation of Western citizens and Afghan workers should end on Saturday.
Keeping the civilian part of Kabul airport open, an idea recently floated by some G7 countries, is hardly realistic, given the deteriorating political and security situation in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have said the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawal of Western forces is a “red line,” warning of consequences if it is violated.