Germany to end Afghanistan aid if Taliban take power
Germany said Thursday that it would stop sending financial support to Afghanistan in the event that the Taliban succeeded in seizing power in the country.
Speaking to the German broadcaster ZDF, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Taliban know that Afghanistan cannot survive without international aid.
"We will not send another cent to this country if the Taliban take complete control, introduce Sharia law and turn it into a caliphate," Maas said.
Germany sends Afghanistan 430 million euros ($504 million) in aid a year, making it one of the biggest donors to the strife-hit nation.
Since international troops began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in May, the Taliban have taken control of large swathes of territory.
Most recently, the Taliban seized the provincial capital Ghazni, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the capital Kabul.
German soldiers were deployed as part of a NATO force in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years until June.
Speaking to radio station Deutschlandfunk, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer confirmed that Afghans who had worked with German forces locally would be brought to Germany to protect them from Taliban retaliation.
"There's a clear commitment to get them out of there," Kramp-Karrenbauer said, but added that there was a "bottleneck" in Afghanistan, limiting exits.
Local officials will only allow Afghan citizens to leave the country if they have a passport, which many do not.
"Without these travel documents, people can't get to the airport or on the plane," Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
"The foreign ministry is seeking to dissuade the Afghan government from using this practice."
When asked about the gains made by Taliban insurgents in the country in his interview with ZDF, Maas referred back to the decision of the United States to withdraw from the country.
"This meant that all NATO forces had to leave the country as well, because without American capabilities... no one country can send their soldiers there safely," Maas said.
Germany's government had considered the idea of a longer mission in Afghanistan but "could not act outside of NATO", Maas said.
Underlining the escalating danger in Afghanistan, the foreign ministry changed its guidance for Germans, asking them to leave the country "urgently".