German Minister Promises to Take in 70,000 Afghans

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks to reporters on developments in Afghanistan, in

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has promised to take in at least 70,000 vulnerable people from Afghanistan, including human rights activists and journalists.

Foreign Minister Maas has announced that 70,000 people would be eligible for aid during a visit to Turkey, saying that Germany would not abandon those who could not make it onto flights at the airport in Kabul.

“We want to continue the aid campaign, but it is now entering a second phase,” Mr Maas saidDer Spiegel reports.

According to the German magazine, around 10,000 Afghan nationals who worked with the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, are eligible for protection along with 1,600 humanitarian activists and journalists. The remaining people eligible are close family members.

Maas said that Germany is interested in two methods for getting people out of Afghanistan. First, to repair damages at Kabul airport and allow civilian flights to resume. Secondly, negotiate with countries around Afghanistan to allow Germany to fly vulnerable people from countries like Uzbekistan or Pakistan.

Over the course of the evacuation operations from Kabul, the German Luftwaffe were able to evacuate around 5,000 people.

Some, however, have criticised the fact that at least one flight left Kabul virtually empty. An A-400M transport, which can seat up to 200 people, left Kabul with just seven people aboard earlier this month.

The German government confirmed that number, arguing that the aircraft was forced to take off due to security concerns.

“Due to the chaotic circumstances at the airport and regular exchanges of fire at the access point, there was no guarantee last night that further German nationals and other persons to be evacuated would even have access to the airport without the protection of the Bundeswehr [German armed forces],” the German Foreign Office said.

Just days after the nearly empty flight, a German national was shot at the Kabul airport, suffering a non-life-threatening injury.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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