Berlin, 29 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas promised aid for countries bordering Afghanistan on Sunday at the outset of his trip to five countries, all of which play a role in the ongoing efforts to get those in need of protection out of the country.
His first stop is Turkey, which is of great importance for the continued operation of the Kabul airport and the reception of refugees amid efforts to rapidly evacuate people following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
“It is in our own interest to prevent the collapse in Afghanistan from destabilizing the entire region,” Maas said as he promised humanitarian and economic aid to deal with the fallout.
He also called for international coordination in dealing with the Taliban.
During his four-day trip, Maas also plans to visit Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, three of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, as well as Qatar.
The small but influential Gulf emirate has actively participated in the evacuations.
Its capital, Doha, is also home to the political office of the radical Islamist Taliban, which effectively functions as the Foreign Ministry of the new rulers in Afghanistan and with which German negotiator Markus Potzel has been conducting talks on evacuation issues for days.
Maas set off just three days after the end of the Bundeswehr evacuation operation, in which the air force flew 5,347 people from at least 45 countries out of Kabul under extremely dangerous conditions.
He expressed his gratitude to those involved on Sunday.
“I would like to thank you for this on behalf of the government and work to ensure that international cooperation continues in the critical phase that is now beginning,” said Maas.
There are still more than 10,000 people on the Foreign Office’s departure lists, including 300 Germans.
“The military evacuation is now over. But our work continues, and will continue until everyone for whom we have responsibility in Afghanistan is safe,” Maas had promised on Thursday.