Europe

‘Window of opportunity for evacuations is closing’: German minister

Time is running out for German nationals and local Afghan forces to leave Kabul, Germany”s defence minister has said.

“The window of opportunity for evacuation is closing, it is getting smaller. How exactly and how big this window is, I don’t want to speculate about that,” said Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, but she wouldn’t reveal the precise timetable of when they would end.

Given the “very concrete” concerns over terrorist attacks, Kramp-Karrenbauer said the possibility of taking more people out of the country was dependent on the logistical support of the U.S. Army:

“The Americans currently have over 6,000 troops on the ground. They are supported by the UK, they are also supported with robust forces by us.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer added that the effort is “now in what is certainly the most hectic, dangerous and sensitive phase. We know that the terror threats have intensified massively and that they have become significantly more concrete.”

Without the U.S. Army, however, it would not work, Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed. This is in particular due to the significantly better military equipment of the United States.

The Bundeswehr has flown more than 4,800 people out of Afghanistan in the last ten days. The situation in Kabul “continues to be confusing and tense,” reported the German operations command in Potsdam.

France, meanwhile, has set Friday night as its deadline for bringing its Kabul operation to a close. Belgium and Poland have said they are already ending their evacuation operations.

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