Thursday April 29, 2021
Germany fears chaos
NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has begun
After the USA, Germany is the largest provider of troops after the USA in Afghanistan. While NATO begins to withdraw, a confidential report from the German government reveals that experts do not rule out civil war in the country after the end of the mission.
NATO has started the withdrawal of its mission from Afghanistan. “This withdrawal has started,” said a NATO representative in the afternoon. With its “Resolute Support” mission to support the Afghan security forces, NATO is still in the Hindu Kush with around 9,600 NATO soldiers, including around 1,100 soldiers from the German Armed Forces.
Shortly before the troop withdrawal began, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had promised the country further support for the time after. “Germany remains a reliable partner at the side of the people in Afghanistan,” said the SPD politician on a short visit to the capital Kabul and to the German soldiers in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
Maas thanked them for their almost 20 years of commitment. What had been built up thanks to the international troops, “advanced the country far”. “That’s why it wasn’t in vain.” Two weeks ago, NATO decided to bring home the 10,000 soldiers who were still in Afghanistan. The US, as the largest provider of troops, had previously committed to leaving the country by September 11th – the 20th anniversary of the Al Qaeda network’s terrorist attacks in the US. In the meantime, a shortening of the withdrawal period until July 4th, the national holiday of the USA, is under discussion.
Federal government fears deterioration in the security situation
According to information from “Spiegel”, the German government fears a considerable deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal. As the magazine reports, citing a confidential report by experts from the Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Defense, the experts are preparing for “a further, significant deterioration in the security situation” in the coming months if “no agreement with the Taliban on the nature and extent of the situation is possible.” and extended duration of the presence of international armed forces “.
According to the report, a joint delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense had explored the situation in Kabul for four days in early March. In their report, the experts warned that international organizations in Afghanistan could increasingly become the target of attacks again. Since the deployment of the Bundeswehr had been extended earlier than that of other NATO partners, the German presence could “come into particular focus”.
Worst case: civil war, storming of Kabul
Absolute “worst-case scenarios, such as a civil war with a storm on Kabul” and thus the closure of the German embassy “cannot be completely ruled out,” quotes “Spiegel” from the analysis. A “land march to a third country” is absurd in such a case. An evacuation of German citizens would then have to take place via the airport in Kabul or the US military base in Bagram near the capital.
The US embassy has offered to fly out the German colleagues in helicopters if necessary, but the federal government shouldn’t rely on that, the security experts warn according to “Spiegel”. “In view of the high number of its own wards” it can be assumed that “the USA can only help to a very limited extent in the event of an evacuation”. The experts therefore recommend renting civil “air transport capacities”.
The alliance officially begins on May 1 with the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The withdrawal of international troops, including the Bundeswehr contingent, should be completed in the fall. Germany is the second largest provider of troops after the USA.