Afghan refugees are processed inside Hangar 5 at the Ramstein US Air Base in Germany on September 8, 2021 | Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via AP
Afghan refugees are processed inside Hangar 5 at the Ramstein US Air Base in Germany on September 8, 2021 | Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via AP

According to a media report, several dozen Afghan refugees are stranded in the German city of Giessen. They allegedly lack the documents necessary to travel to Britain. Meanwhile, a measles outbreak has temporarily stopped Afghan evacuation flights from the US air base Ramstein in Germany.

On Sunday (September 12), German weekly Welt am Sonntag reported that 57 refugees from Afghanistan were refused onward travel from Frankfurt airport in Germany to the United Kingdom (UK).

British airport authorities reportedly said the Afghans did not meet the country's entry requirements. The British embassy in Germany could not initially be reached for comment, according to dpa.

The group, initially evacuated from Kabul to the Uzbek capital Tashkent, consists of 20 men, 19 women and 18 children, a spokesperson of the social affairs ministry of the German state of Hesse said. They are currently staying in Giessen, a city of 90,000 located north of Frankfurt.

The spokesperson told dpa it was unclear how long the Afghans would stay in Giessen. "We have taken them in for humanitarian reasons," she said. According to dpa, the spokesperson couldn't say exactly why British authorities didn't allow them to travel onwards.

During the swift takeover of Afghanistan by the militant Islamist Taliban, thousands of Afghans fled their country, fearing repression under Taliban rule.

Although tens of thousands of Afghans were flown out of the country in hastily organized evacuation missions plagued by attacks and other deadly violence after the Taliban captured Kabul, "many are left in temporary limbo as governments seek to resettle those seeking protection," dpa reported.

Measles outbreak stops evacuation flights

Meanwhile, the flights bringing Afghans who fled the Taliban from its Ramstein air base in Germany to the United States were halted on Friday (September 10). The temporary suspension came after four cases of measles among new Afghan arrivals in the United States were discovered. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended it.

The ban on evacuation flights has left more than 9,000 Afghans at Ramstein, a spokesperson told dpa. No cases of measles have been found at the base, the spokesperson said. No Afghans flew into Ramstein over the weekend, either.

Ramstein air base, located in the German southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate, serves as the headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe. It was one of several US hubs for its evacuation mission from Afghanistan.

Read more: 90 Afghans at US base apply for asylum in Germany

Quarantine in the US

On Friday (September 10), White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Afghans who came down with measles are now in quarantine.

US officials are reportedly discussing whether measles vaccination could be given at bases prior to entry in the US, dpa reported

While Psaki couldn't say when the suspension of the evacuation flights would end, according to dpa, she did say that talks were under way with German authorities in this regard, too. The initial agreement was that Afghans brought to Ramstein would spend no more than 10 days there.

The Afghan evacuation to Ramstein air base has been the largest airlift in US history, with more than 130 planes carrying evacuees having arrived at Ramstein Air Base until September 3 alone. The Afghan refugees are initially accommodated in tents and aircraft hangars in Ramstein or bases in the United States. They are registered and given medical treatment as necessary.

With dpa

 

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