The Taliban are about to reach Kabul in Afghanistan when President Ghani addresses his people. The Bundeswehr is meanwhile preparing the evacuation of German citizens.
- Since the decision to withdraw international troops, the Taliban have conquered large parts of Afghanistan * – they are now a few kilometers from Kabul.
- Like other countries, Germany * is preparing everything to evacuate citizens and local staff.
- This news ticker on the situation in Afghanistan is continuously updated.
Kabul – Many are currently looking at Afghanistan again. While the Taliban are already a few kilometers from the capital Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani has now commented on the situation in a TV address after a long silence. He did not respond to speculations that he could resign to pave the way for an agreement with the militant Islamists.
He is aware of the dire situation and sees it as his “historic task” to prevent innocent people from being killed and the achievements of the past 20 years from being lost, Ghani said on Saturday. He has started talks with political leaders in the country and international partners and wants to present results “soon”.
Taliban on the advance in Afghanistan: fighting near Kabul
The Taliban will continue their advance in Afghanistan on Saturday: Only about 35 kilometers from Kabul there were battles in the morning over Maidan Schar, the capital of Wardak province, said MP Hamida Akbari of the German Press Agency. The Taliban already ruled much of the province.
The Taliban also tried to penetrate the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where the Bundeswehr had its headquarters until June. According to local politicians, however, they could be pushed back. The ex-provincial governor Mohammad Atta Nur and the former warlord Abdul Raschid Dostum have set up a line of defense in the northern province of Balkh, in which Mazar-i-Sharif is located. The Taliban have already taken surrounding provinces.
Taliban conquer large parts of Afghanistan – fighting continues
Since the decision to withdraw international troops from Afghanistan in mid-April, the Taliban have conquered large parts of the country. 20 of the 34 provincial capitals are now under their control. Nationwide, the fighting continued in at least five provinces on Saturday. The militant Islamists were able to take over two small provincial capitals.
Sharana in the province of Paktika with an estimated 66,000 inhabitants was handed over to the Taliban without a fight after mediation by elders, local authorities confirmed. A little later, several local officials confirmed that government officials and security forces had also left Asadabad, the capital of Kunar Province in the east of the country with an estimated 40,000 inhabitants. They wanted to prevent civilian casualties and destruction.
Previously, Herat and Kandahar, the third and second largest cities in the country, fell to the Islamists. With Pul-i Alam in Logar province, the Taliban have also captured a provincial capital around 70 kilometers south of Kabul.
USA, Great Britain and Germany want to bring personnel to safety
Western states are meanwhile accelerating their efforts to get their own personnel and local Afghan workers to safety from the rapidly advancing Taliban. The US State Department announced that the planned reinforcement of US troops in Afghanistan by around 3,000 soldiers * will be mostly in Kabul by Sunday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said British Embassy staff should leave Kabul within days. According to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Germany also wants to reduce embassy staff to the “absolute minimum”. Staff and local staff are to be flown out with two aircraft.
In addition, Chancellor Angela Merkel * (CDU) discussed the next steps in a crisis meeting over the phone with part of her cabinet. “It was discussed how with the help of the Bundeswehr the fastest possible return of employees of the German embassy and German organizations active in Afghanistan as well as Afghan local staff can be guaranteed,” said a government spokesman on Saturday at the request of the dpa. “The German Bundestag will be involved in such a decision,” he affirmed.
Afghanistan: Bundeswehr prepares to evacuate citizens and local staff
The Bundeswehr has already started preparations for a heavily secured mission to evacuate German citizens and local staff from Afghanistan. According to information from the German Press Agency, a mandate to be adopted by the Bundestag is being prepared for this purpose. Paratroopers from the Rapid Forces Division (DSK), which the German Armed Forces as part of the National Risk and Crisis Preparedness for such tasks, will be deployed in the coming week.
There are currently well over 100 Germans in Afghanistan, including the diplomats and employees of the embassy in Kabul as well as experts from other ministries and organizations. The exact number of local employees is still unclear. Organizations from the department of the Federal Development Ministry alone currently have more than 1,000 local employees in Afghanistan. (dpa / cibo) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.