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Germany’s Merkel calls for talks with Taliban on evacuations

A Taliban soldier walks on the tarmac at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 5, 2021.  (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)
A Taliban soldier walks on the tarmac at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)

BERLIN — Germany’s chancellor says the country must engage with the Taliban in order to help evacuate Afghans who had worked for them.

Angela Merkel tells reporters today that “we simply have to talk to the Taliban about how we can get the people who used to work for Germany out of the country and to safety.” She adds: “They are the ones one needs to talk to now.”

She says it’s also in Germany’s interest to support international aid organizations who are helping improve the humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan. She calls it a good signal that the airport in Kabul was reopened, allowing medical aid into the country again.

Some Western countries have been reluctant about talking with the Taliban.

Merkel’s remarks come after a spokesman for the Taliban told a German newspaper that his group was ready for full diplomatic relations with the Germans, and had “forgiven” them their past cooperation with the Americans in the country.

Merkel doesn’t refer to his remarks, nor does she talk about establishing any kind of official diplomatic relations.

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