The Taliban have told Germany that Afghans with legal documents will be able to travel on commercial flights beyond the Aug. 31 cut-off date after which evacuations from Kabul airport will no longer be allowed, a senior German diplomat said.
“Director Stanekzai assured me that Afghans with legal documents will continue to have the opportunity to travel on commercial flights after August 31,” Ambassador Markus Potzel, who is negotiating with the Taliban in Doha, said on Twitter.
The former German envoy to Kabul was referring to the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, whom he met for talks on Tuesday as Western governments scramble to evacuate citizens and Afghan staff from Kabul.
“We talked about the urgent need for a functioning airport in Kabul as a prerequisite for (a) diplomatic & NGO presence” in Afghanistan, Potzel, who has been negotiating with the Taliban extensively in the past, added.
The Taliban have asked Turkey for technical help to run Kabul airport after the departure of foreign forces but insist that Ankara’s military also withdraw fully by the end-August deadline, two Turkish officials told Reuters.
Potzel noted that Germany has pledged to increase humanitarian aid for the Afghan people by 100 million euros but added that the “resumption of development cooperation will be dependent on conditions”, as had been the case with the Afghan government in the past.
Photo: Evacuee children wait for the next flight after being manifested at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Aug. 19. U.S. service members are assisting the Department of State with a Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1stLt. Mark Andries)/DVIDS