Germany gives 2400 Afghan assistants visas

·1-min read

Germany has issued 2400 visas to locals who assisted the German forces and are now seeking protection as the Taliban takes control over much of the country, a foreign ministry spokesman in Berlin says.

The spokesman referred to "an extremely rapid procedure," but added that a planned office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) had not yet started work as a result of the problematic situation in the country.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel has reported that the program to protect Afghans who assisted the German forces has started, with six assistants flown out along with their families since the end of June.

The last contingent of German soldiers left Afghanistan last week as international forces withdraw from the country.

According to German army sources, a total of 23 Afghans have left the German base at Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country aboard Turkish Airlines flights.

A further 30 people considered to be under threat are expected to arrive within days.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Berlin said travel documents had been issued to 446 local assistants and their families, making a total of 2250 people.

"Not all those who received these travel documents wished to leave immediately," the officer said.

"There were many local assistants who said they wished to stay in Afghanistan for as long as possible but would like to have the option to leave if the security situation deteriorates," he said.

The foreign ministry rejected criticism that the process was too slow amid indications that resistance to the Taliban is crumbling across Afghanistan as the US-led stabilisation operation winds down rapidly.

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