Germany gives 2,400 visas to Afghan allies

Berlin vows to stand by former military employees and their dependents after troop withdrawal

Germany has completed its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. AFP

Germany has given 2,400 visas to Afghan employees of the German military and their relatives.

The news comes only days after Germany pulled the last of its troops from Afghanistan after two decades in the country.

Defence Ministry spokesman David Helmbold said the military was seeking to provide as much support as possible for Afghans who worked with Germany during the past 20 years.

“We are aware of our responsibilities for those ones who helped us and were standing at our sides,” he told The National.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul said procedures were complicated by last week's withdrawal of its soldiers and the closure of Germany's consulate general in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

But he said Germany would work with partners such as the UN’s migration agency to help remedy any issues, particularly because of the rapidly deteriorating security situation leading to the Taliban's advance in parts of the country.

The German military took over much of northern Afghanistan in 2003.

Mr Helmbold said not all of those who received travel documents wanted to leave immediately.

“There were a number of local employees who said, ‘we’d actually like to stay as long as possible in Afghanistan, but we'd like to have the possibility to leave if the security situation escalates',” he said on Monday.

Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer previously said Germany had a “deep obligation” not to abandon unprotected Afghans who risked their safety to work with German forces.

Germany had the second-biggest foreign military contingent in Afghanistan after the US, which says it will have completed its withdrawal by the end of August.

Updated: July 5th 2021, 3:34 PM