Germany promises to take in thousands of Afghans

Foreign minister tells people still in Afghanistan 'you have not been forgotten'

Internally displaced people receive food aid distributed by the German government in Kabul, Afghanistan. EPA

The German government has vowed to speed up the evacuation of 15,000 people in need of protection in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the Foreign Office in Berlin on Afghanistan’s fast descent into “the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our time,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock outlined Germany’s new “plan of action” to facilitate resettlement, including a faster bureaucratic process.

“Many people live in daily fear, especially those who have worked with us for a better future in Afghanistan and we have the responsibility, particularly to the many women and girls, not to leave them in the lurch,” said Ms Baerbock in a live-streamed address on Thursday.

The foreign minister confirmed that there were about 15,000 people whom Germany “had firmly promised” they would take in and 135 German nationals who have not yet left Afghanistan.

“Before the turn of the year, it is important for me to say to all of you: you have not been forgotten. We’re not going to let go, we're working flat out to get them to safety,” said Ms Baerbock.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke to the media after making a statement on Afghanistan at the Foreign Office on Thursday in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images

Germany has so far facilitated the evacuation of around 10,000 citizens since the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August.

The recently-appointed minister also spoke of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan that is putting 24 million Afghans at risk of dying this winter.

“Major sectors of the economy have collapsed, many people are starving,” Ms Baerbock told reporters. “One can hardly bear it when one reads that families in their desperation are selling their daughters to buy food.”

“We cannot allow hundreds of thousands of children to die because we don't want to take action,” she said.

Updated: December 24th 2021, 2:32 PM