Germany's Angela Merkel favours dialogue with Taliban

German Chancellor says it is a good sign that Kabul airport has reopened for domestic flights

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Germany’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she supports dialogue with the Taliban, as she highlighted the importance of aid organisations being able to work effectively to support humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.

Nato members such as Germany, who fought against the Taliban for nearly two decades, are facing up to how they can have a future relationship with the hardline group after its rapid takeover of Afghanistan.

“As far as the Taliban are concerned, of course we have to talk to them,” Ms Merkel said during a visit to the German city of Hagen.

"We want to get people who have worked for German development aid organisations in particular, and who now feel at risk, out of the country.

“We also want the international aid organisations, and Germany supports these very much, to be able to improve the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

"There is drought, there is hunger, and it was a good signal yesterday that Kabul airport is accessible again.”

In recent days a handful of domestic commercial flights have resumed in Afghanistan.

On Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said "the German government could encourage its entrepreneurs to come and invest in our country".

He told German newspaper Bild that the Taliban would pave the way for investments and ensure the security of companies.

Mrs Merkel was welcome to visit Afghanistan, he said.

"We would like to revive the friendly atmosphere that existed between Afghans and Germans. The next government will be based on a friendly relationship with Germany," Mr Mujahid said.

"We would like Germany to support us in the humanitarian sector, and we need help in the healthcare sector, in the area of education and with the infrastructure."

Germany’s parliamentary elections are set to take place this month, with Mrs Merkel, a member of the Christian Democratic Union, stepping down after 16 years.

The party's candidate, Armin Laschet, is lagging in the polls behind the centre-left Social Democrats and its contender Olaf Scholz, who is Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor in Mrs Merkel’s coalition government.

“Armin Laschet leads this biggest state of Germany very successfully," Mrs Merkel said, repeating her support for her party’s candidate.

"We can now make use of some of the things that the state government has decided on, namely simplifying and accelerating planning, and perhaps learn from that at the federal level, and somebody who can lead such a state can also lead Germany as chancellor."

Updated: September 06, 2021, 11:14 AM
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