Afghanistan: Efforts to find alternative evacuation routes continue

GIZ is doing everything in its power to get Afghan employees and their families to safety

The German Government ended evacuation flights under the German Bundeswehr’s airlift out of Kabul on 26 August 2021. Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, Managing Director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, emphasises that, ‘We are continuing to work at full stretch to get our national staff and their families out of the country – if they want to leave. We are concentrating our efforts on alternative scenarios for getting our Afghan colleagues to safety.’

In coordination with the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is continuing its intensive efforts to find other evacuation routes.

This includes overland travel to safe third countries and flights at a later date when commercial air travel is possible again.

‘GIZ welcomes the many political and diplomatic efforts being made to secure the safe exit of its local staff at a later point in time,’ says Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel. ‘GIZ and its partners were contributing to Afghanistan’s development right up until very recently. A great proportion of this work was carried out by our many Afghan colleagues. We are doing everything we can to ensure their, and their families’, safety.’

More than 1,000 former and current national GIZ staff have registered to leave the country with their families. However, the huge crowds of people and dramatic security situation at the gates of Kabul’s airport means that, in recent days, Afghan nationals – especially families with children and other individuals who require protection – have only rarely been able to reach the aircraft safely. Before Germany’s military ended its evacuation flights, GIZ had already informed its national staff that it would only be possible to fly out a small number of GIZ Afghan employees through the airlift.

In the ongoing, very difficult situation, GIZ is providing financial support to its staff in Afghanistan. In addition, it is offering a special payment to those who do not wish to leave. This is in no way intended to encourage staff to stay in the country, but is designed as bridging assistance in a difficult situation.