Afghanistan – We Do Not Retreat

Afghanistan – We Do Not Retreat

November 27, 2021

The withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of power in August has focused global attention for some time on Afghanistan and the people left behind there. As a public-facing refugee aid organization, we too received thousands of emails, direct messages, and phone calls with desperate requests for help from across the country, within a few weeks. Our team, which actually specializes in sea rescue, answered inquiries around the clock for weeks, trying to mediate, advise and help in whatever way possible. Meanwhile, months have passed and the situation in Afghanistan is even worse than we could have ever imagined. The eyewitness accounts and documents we have available show that the fear of thousands of Afghans of genocide by the Taliban is well-founded. At the same time, the acting German government continues to restrict the possibilities for escape in cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighboring states. The promise to save as many people as possible is proving to be an empty phrase. This makes civil society initiatives that insist on human rights for all and continue to provide practical humanitarian aid all the more important.

Since August, we have been able to rescue people from Afghanistan in cooperation with the initiative “Omas gegen rechts” (Grandmothers Against the Right). Ahmad Samim Jabari, whom we were able to evacuate to Germany first together with his family thanks to private support, helps us to cover necessary costs just like many other people. In advance of almost every rescue, we have to argue with ministries via lawyers, and this despite the fact that there are unambiguous legal claims for admission in all the cases we care about. Nevertheless, we do not want to conceal the fact that we experience many disappointments. Families are torn apart, also because in Germany the principle of the ” core family ” (father, mother, underage child) is defended to the (foreign) blood. And the Taliban will not refrain from taking brutal revenge on brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents left behind.

“Mission accomplished,” Lieutenant General Erich Pfeffer declared this summer to German troops who had just been withdrawn from a country surrendered to the Taliban. Really Germany? Mission accomplished? Devil-may-care? Not for us. As a matter of principle, we do not simply withdraw when people need help. We continue to save, because every life counts! We thank you very much for your support in this!

Axel Steier

Foto Header: Achim Schmidt

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