Uzbekistan has told Foreign Minister Heiko Maas it is willing to help transport more Afghans to Germany. Maas has also urged China and Russia to join talks.
Maas said that Uzbekistan had declared itself willing to provide support to Afghans who are still in Afghanistan, but who are eligible to go to Germany and who can reach Uzbekistan via air or land. The details were still being negotiated, Maas said in a tweet.
However, Maas will not take part in discussions with the Taliban over the further evacuation of Afghans who had supported Germany's Bundeswehr, dpa reported. Instead, the German diplomat Markus Potzel will be the country's contact with the Taliban in Qatar.
The foreign minister is set to arrive in Qatar on Tuesday to meet with Potzel after visiting Tajikistan and Pakistan. He was in Turkey on Sunday to discuss the future of Kabul airport.
Concerns in Uzbekistan
DW correspondent in Tashkent Nick Connolly said that Uzbekistan had concerns of turning into "essentially a refugee camp for Europe."
"They [Uzbek officials] are very certain and very clear that this is only going to be about transit, and they will not let people stay in large numbers for the long term," he added.
People in Uzbekistan have had mixed opinions about the government's handling of the situation.
While some people were criticizing the government for the slow process of allowing people's entry from Afghanistan, others feared that migration could cause political instability in Uzbekistan, Connolly said.
So far, Uzbek authorities have allowed the entry of few people from Afghanistan, mostly those who already had visas, politicians, and people from the Uzbek ethnic minority, he said.
The role of China and Russia in Afghanistan talks
Maas also called on China and Russia to be involved in international talks over the future of Afghanistan. A UN Security Council meeting was set to take place later on Monday.
There are efforts underway "to bring all important international partners to the table, and so it will be important that Russia and China are also there," Maas said from Tashkent.
China and Russia are the only members of the Security Council that still have their embassies open and functioning in Afghanistan. The other members, the US, UK and France, all closed theirs as they evacuated personnel from the country.
What Maas said about Germany's evacuation operation
The foreign minister also denied a report from the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that only slightly more than 100 local Afghan helpers had been evacuated by the German military.
Maas said that it would take a while to have a concrete number as the passenger lists from the evacuation flights were still being processed, but that it was significantly higher than 100.
Germany flew out over 5,300 people from Kabul airport before ending its operations last week. The country plans to take in some 40,000 Afghans, including people who worked for the Bundeswehr and people at high risk, such as human rights activists.
ab/rt (Reuters, dpa)
First published: August 30, 2021
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