Maas and Blinken on Afghanistan: Clear demands on the Taliban

Status: 08.09.2021 8:37 p.m.

How should the West deal with the new rulers in Kabul? Germany, the USA and 20 other countries discussed this. Federal Foreign Minister Maas confirmed in daily topics-Interview his demands on the Taliban.

At the US military base in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, his US counterpart Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of 20 other states discussed the procedure in Afghanistan. Maas made four specific demands on the new Taliban government in Kabul.

Foreign Ministers Maas and Blinken discuss Afghanistan in Ramstein

Iris Völlnagel, SWR, daily news 8:00 p.m., 9/8/2021

Specific demands

“We expect that people who are allowed to leave the country are also allowed to leave the country,” said the SPD politician. In addition, the Taliban must ensure that terrorist structures do not re-emerge in Afghanistan. Human and especially women’s rights must be protected and a final government must represent all population groups. Otherwise stability cannot be achieved in the country.

Maas made no secret of his rejection of the interim government presented yesterday in Kabul. “This is not satisfactory,” he said, as there were no women or minorities represented – contrary to the Taliban’s promise that this was possible. In order to emphasize the demands, he admonished the new rulers in Kabul: “International isolation cannot be in their interest.” He ruled out an early recognition of the transitional government.

“Judging the Taliban by their actions”

In an interview with the daily topics reaffirm Maas to be critical of whether the Taliban keep their promises. “We have heard a lot of moderate tones in the last few weeks. But we will not measure the Taliban by that – but by what will happen.” It would depend on whether “beyond humanitarian aid there is a basis for starting development cooperation”.

To evacuate more Afghans, Maas said there were again flights between Kabul and Qatar. At the moment, only equipment is transported on the route, but there is hope that people will soon be able to be flown out again via such flights. Initially, however, this applies to citizens of third countries, including Germans.

“You have to talk to the Taliban, even if we don’t like it,” Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, on the conditions in Afghanistan

8.9.2021 9:14 p.m.

Wanted terrorist as interior minister

His US counterpart Blinken said in Ramstein that the international legitimacy sought by the Taliban must be earned by the Islamists through their actions. In addition, the connections and past of some members of the government are cause for concern. For example, Taliban deputy chief Siradschuddin Hakkani, head of the infamous Hakkani network, was appointed interior minister. The Hakkani network has been blamed for some of the cruelest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years. Hakkani is on the US wanted list as a “global terrorist”. The US Federal Police FBI has offered a bounty of up to 10 million dollars (almost 8.5 million euros) for clues that lead to his arrest.

Warning of a humanitarian crisis

Maas also warned of a triple humanitarian crisis in the country. “Many parts of the country are already experiencing food shortages due to the drought. At the same time, international aid payments, on which many people depend economic collapse – with even more drastic humanitarian consequences. ”

But he also made it clear that nobody wanted to turn away from Afghanistan. One must continue to provide humanitarian aid and use existing channels to the Taliban to enforce demands and make agreements. It is important, however, that western states coordinate – this was the main reason for today’s foreign ministers’ conference.

Blinking: Allow humanitarian aid

US Minister Blinken emphasized that it is particularly important to his country that more people can leave Afghanistan. Kabul airport is currently closed, but they want to ensure that machines can start there again. He also referred to charter planes in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, with which Afghans seeking protection were to be flown out but were being held up by the Taliban. The US would continue to put pressure on the Islamists so that the people could leave Afghanistan and advocate overflight and landing rights in other countries. This also applies to charter flights operated by aid organizations with which we work closely. “These flights must have permission to take off.”

He thanked Germany and the other partner countries and made another demand in the direction of the Taliban: They must continue to let humanitarian aid into the country. The US wanted to continue delivering relief supplies to the population, he promised.

Afghans in Ramstein apply for asylum

Most of those evacuated from the USA are flown out via Ramstein, a total of around 34,000 people. According to the federal government, 20,000 of them have already left German soil. The United States kept to the agreement to fly out Afghans destined for the United States after ten days at the latest. Those still waiting for protection are not allowed to leave the base.

But there are also a small number of Afghans who have applied for asylum in Germany. This was confirmed by Maas at the press conference. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, there have so far been 90 asylum applications from Afghans who have landed in Ramstein.

Foreign Minister Maas and US Secretary of State Blinken make clear demands on the Taliban

Jochen Voß, SWR, 9/8/2021 7:04 p.m.

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