| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

German foreign minister under fire for failed Afghanistan policy

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was lashed out on Wednesday by German parliamentarians for his failed Afghanistan policy, especially his poor handling of the evacuation plans, as Germany’s military is racing against time to airlift the country’s remaining nationals and local Afghan staff out of Kabul.

Speaking ahead of a special session of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the situation in Afghanistan, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) chairman of the committee, Norbert Roettgen, sharply criticized the government for misjudging the political situation in Afghanistan over the past several weeks.

Roettgen called the dramatic events in the war-stricken country a “political catastrophe and human drama,” saying this was also “a moral failure of the West.”

There are still “many people in Kabul to whom we have a responsibility to bring them to safety in Germany.” However, it is unclear how long the airport will remain open there and “whether people can come to the airport at all,” Roettgen added.

Roettgen’s remarks were echoed by a Green opposition parliamentary deputy who levelled serious accusations against the German government for the dramatic situation in Afghanistan.

“We are dealing with a collective failure,” said Green party foreign policy expert Jürgen Trittin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel “did what she does best: nothing. And Heiko Maas provided the reports for it, whitewashing reports on the situation in Afghanistan,” he added.

Maas, who only two months ago dismissed suggestions that the radical Islamist Taliban was on the verge of seizing control of Afghanistan, has faced mounting public calls to resign after acknowledging that he “misread the situation.”

In a closed-door meeting with her party’s leadership Monday, the chancellor also admitted that her government had misjudged the situation and had to depend on US help to airlift its people and thousands of its Afghan helpers from Kabul. ​​​​​​​