Germany is in talks regarding civilian flight activities at Afghanistan’s Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, the country’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday.
“We are in talks with the USA, Turkey and others about the continued operation of the airport Kabul also beyond the military evacuation. This also requires talks with the Taliban, which will play a role after the U.S. forces have withdrawn,” Maas tweeted.
In a dramatic turn of events that brought an effective end to the 20-year-old war, the Afghan military collapsed in the face of the Taliban's lightning offensive and so did its government in Kabul under former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country.
The armed movement's military victory prompted a chaotic and frenzied evacuation of all foreign nationals belonging to the U.S., the U.K. and NATO countries in Afghanistan with helicopters shuttling nationals from embassies to the airport.
Afghans have also flooded the airport, desperate to flee the country as uncertainty over how the Taliban will rule increases. Many civilians have died attempting to flee by clinging onto aircraft, only to later plummet to their deaths. Others died after suffocating due to stampedes at the departure terminal.
Turkish troops are protecting Kabul airport and ensure that evacuations continue in a safe and peaceful manner.
Moreover, Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul's airport after the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. Questions remain on how security will be assured along major transport routes and at the airport, which is the main international gateway to the capital, Kabul.
The security of the airport is crucial for the operation of diplomatic missions out of Afghanistan as Western forces pull out. The airport is in a strategic location close to the Afghan presidential palace and foreign diplomatic missions in Kabul and is the only place from which to evacuate diplomats in emergency situations.
Turkey has been in Afghanistan in a noncombat role for 20 years and has been involved in consultancy efforts, reconstruction and maintenance. It has been operating the airport for six years.
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