BERLIN — The German defense minister says her country has ended its evacuation mission in Afghanistan.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the last of the German military aircraft and troops arrived in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Thursday evening. She said that, in all, Germany evacuated 5,347 people from at least 45 nations, including more than 4,000 Afghans.
Germany hadn’t publicly specified ahead of time when exactly its flights would end but other European nations also have been wrapping up their evacuation efforts ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said the last flights had been loading at the time of Thursday’s attacks just outside the airport and the German commander then set in motion plans for an “emergency departure.”
She added that “the attacks we saw this afternoon … have made clear that an extension of the operation in Kabul was not possible. The security situation on the ground, and also the Taliban’s decision not to tolerate an extension beyond Aug. 31, made it impossible.”
The minister said Germany offered a medevac plane that was overhead at the time to bring out wounded from other nations but “according to my information, that wasn’t the case so far.” She said the plane, which flew on to Tashkent, will be provided if needed.