Have the Federal Foreign Office and the Interior Ministry actively blocked the evacuation of local Afghan workers through a private rescue initiative? The “Kabul Airlift” raises serious allegations.
Berlin (dpa) – The Kabul Airlift Rescue Initiative has reiterated its allegations against the federal government for lack of support and massive resistance to private evacuation flights of those in need of protection from Afghanistan.
“The real mother of all the problems linked to this evacuation mission is without a doubt the Federal Ministry of the Interior,” co-initiator Ruben Neugebauer said in Berlin on Wednesday. There was “simply a lack of political will” to save as many people as possible from Afghanistan.
The rescue mission, made up of activists, non-governmental organizations and refugee initiatives, sent an organized and privately donated charter plane to Kabul. The mission cost a total of 350,000 euros, after which only 18 local workers at risk were brought to safety with “an immense effort” – “and it could have been hundreds more”, according to the initiators. Thanks mainly to the support of British and American troops, the project was finally crowned with success.
According to the most active people, the Federal Foreign Office and the Interior Ministry “actively blocked” the action. The experience left one speechless and angry and showed “bureaucratic and political prevention tactics,” the initiators said. “It feels like they didn’t want to have the debate here anymore before the federal election, but in the end they probably stepped on corpses,” Neugebauer said. “You would have had time and you would have had the opportunity to get people out of there in time.”
The Foreign Ministry again rejected the allegations on Wednesday and cautioned against oversimplifying the description of a situation in Kabul, which was very complicated. The ministry has supported the project in several ways and – contrary to what has been shown – also sent an email that was reportedly not sent, a spokesperson said on Wednesday. The idea that such an operation, which had been planned for days, could be canceled because of an email, “really does not correspond to the realities of such a situation.” There was no refusal or blockade. However, it was made clear at the initiative from the outset that on-site assistance capacities were limited – due to the ongoing state evacuation operation.
The initiative reiterated its demands for safe evacuation routes, unbureaucratic airlifts from neighboring countries as well as an opening of evacuation lists and a “Visa on Arrival” procedure, this ie the issuance of a visa after arrival in Germany. This is the only way out of Afghanistan in a self-organized manner, Neugebauer said.