All fuel!  The first Bundeswehr machine over Kabul must be turned off - BZ Berlin

Exceptional situation in Afghanistan! Thousands wait at Kabul airport, hoping to be rescued from the Taliban.

By Maximilian Kewell

Thousands wait at Kabul airport, hoping to be rescued from the Taliban. The German army is on its way with a total of four planes, meanwhile two A-400Ms have arrived via Kabul – but they are not allowed to land!

Simply put, there are too many people on the tarmac, and a safe landing is not possible. For the machines of the German army, this means: the waiting ring – circles sweep over the Kabul.

Desperate Afghans fled the Taliban to Kabul airport, hoping they could leave the country. US forces trying to maintain order (Photo: Agent Lost/AFP)

And because the tank is now empty from the first machine, it means: turn off, towards Uzbekistan. There will be refueling again.

The problem is: only when American soldiers clear the runway and give the German machine permission to land, can the rescue plane land. That’s why the US military, under pressure, is trying to evacuate the runway – with little success so far.

The first evacuation flight began at 6.30 am from the air base in Wunstorf, Lower Saxony. The second A400M followed at about 9:30 AM, half an hour later, at about 10 AM, the third and then the fourth machine came.

This is perhaps the largest evacuation mission the Bundeswehr has undertaken to date – and one of the most dangerous. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) explained Sunday evening.

Monday morning at the Wönstorf air base in Lower Saxony: an Airbus A400M transport plane took off from the Luftwaffe (Photo: Moritz Frankenberg / dpa)
Monday morning at the Wönstorf air base in Lower Saxony: an Airbus A400M transport plane took off from the Luftwaffe (Photo: Moritz Frankenberg / dpa)

Because: Soldiers don’t know what to expect in the Afghan capital.

How much time is left for the Bundeswehr to evacuate? Not completely clear!

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The German Foreign Ministry does not want to make predictions about this. A ministry spokesman in Berlin said the situation was very confusing.


How does the Bundeswehr mission work?

After landing in Kabul, Bundeswehr paratroopers are supposed to bring German citizens and local auxiliaries to safety. In the Uzbek capital Tashkent, a second team will organize a center to save people from Islamists.

Soldiers stand Monday morning at Wönstorf Air Force Base in the Hanover region and wait for the flight to Afghanistan (Photo: Renee Schroeder/dpa)
Soldiers stand Monday morning at Wönstorf Air Force Base in the Hanover region and await departure for Afghanistan (Photo: Renee Schroeder/dpa)

The numbers can still be changed, but at least 57 embassy staff and another 88 Germans will have to be relocated. In addition, a large number of local Afghan workers are at risk.

Recently, 1,100 Afghans were still working for Germany in government development aid alone. There are also thousands of former local members of the armed forces or federal ministries.

Evacuation is primarily a logistical task: the people on the list must be collected at a certain time and identified – if necessary, even in a hostile environment with roads that are no longer barrier-free.

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