‘We agree with all partners on site that no space on our aircraft should be left empty,’ says German foreign minister.
BERLIN (AA) – The US is using its huge military base in the southwestern German town of Ramstein as a logistic hub for the evacuation of thousands of people from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced on Friday.
Germany has agreed with the US for the airbase to be used “temporarily for the transit of people seeking protection from Afghanistan to the USA,” Maas said in a press statement in the capital Berlin.
“We agree with all partners on site that no space on our aircraft should be left empty. In the future, therefore, in addition to the Bundeswehr airmen, Germans or people we name will also be evacuated on US flights to Ramstein,” the minister said.
“Likewise, we fly out nationals of various countries from Kabul on our own evacuation flights. We are thus increasing our joint transport capacities and relieving the airlift between Kabul and Tashkent. The focus is on evacuating as many people from Kabul as possible under these very difficult circumstances,” said Maas.
Ramstein, which had also been the logistic hub for the US in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, is a major military transport and cargo airport for the US in Europe.
Taliban insurgents seized control of Afghanistan after taking Kabul on Aug. 15, with the president and other top officials leaving the country.
The unexpected power grab has triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan, including civilians who assisted foreign soldiers or groups and now fear Taliban retribution.