Germany says it helped 21,000 people leave Afghanistan

BERLIN (AP) — The German government has managed to get more than 21,000 former local employees and others at risk out of Afghanistan since the Taliban took power nearly a year ago, the German foreign minister said Thursday.

However, some 10,000 people are still waiting for a chance to leave with German help, Annelena Baerbock told reporters in Berlin. These are mainly people on a so-called “human rights list” and therefore particularly at risk. So far, only half of this group has made it out of Afghanistan.

Baerbock said the people who left Afghanistan, mainly through Pakistan, make up about two-thirds of the total who have been cleared to enter Germany.

They include Afghans who worked for Germany as local employees or participated in efforts for democracy and human rights in Afghanistan.

In particular, around 75% of local employees have been able to leave. Furthermore, almost all German citizens and their families have left the country.

The minister regretted that the economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to worsen and that human rights are being massively restricted.

“The bottom line is that people’s lives in Afghanistan have drastically deteriorated in recent months,” Baerbock said.

One of the main obstacles preventing people from leaving Afghanistan is that the Taliban require those who want to fly out to show a passport, which many people at risk do not have. And neighboring countries insist on visas, which can be expensive and also require having a passport.

“I would like to say clearly that unfortunately the difficulties in getting people out of Afghanistan in the first place will remain and that is why it will also remain our main task simply to provide support on the ground,” the minister said.

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