Germany grants 2,400 visas for Afghan workers and their families

BERLIN — German authorities Monday said they had granted 2,400 visas to Afghan military personnel and their families so far. However, not all of them are keen to travel to Germany right away.

After a nearly 20-year-long deployment, Germany pulled its last troops out of Afghanistan last week. The focus was on the north. It was the second-largest foreign contingent in Afghanistan, after the United States.

Annegret KrampKarrenbauer, Defense Minister, stated in April that Germany has a deep obligation not to leave behind unprotected people who have helped its forces to risk their lives.

Rainer Breul, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, stated that 2,400 German visas had been granted to local workers and their families in recent weeks. While he acknowledged that the procedures were complicated by the military withdrawal, as well as the closing of Germany’s consulate general in Mazar-e Sharif, he said that Berlin is working with partners like the International Organization for Migration. He said that the security situation has prevented the office from starting work.

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David Helmbold, a Defense Ministry spokesperson, stated that before the military left, 446 local workers and their families — totalling 2,250 people — received travel documents. He added that “a relatively few” applications were still open at that point.

Germany grants 2,400 visas for Afghan workers and their families

Helmbold stated that not all those who were issued travel documents wanted to leave immediately. “There were many local employees who stated that they would like to remain in Afghanistan for as long as possible, but they want to be able to leave if security conditions worsen.”

He stated that he could not give an exact figure for those who did not want to leave immediately.

Last week, the U.S. military evacuated its largest airfield in Afghanistan. This was the final step towards a withdrawal that the Pentagon stated would be complete by August 31st. Germany is one of the many allies that has pulled out in recent weeks.

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