Afghans with legal papers will be able to travel beyond Aug 31, Taleban tells Germany

People hoping to gain access, gather outside the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug 25, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

BERLIN (REUTERS) - The Taleban has told Germany that Afghans with legal documents will be able to travel on commercial flights beyond the Aug 31 cut-off date after which evacuations from Kabul airport will no longer be allowed, a senior German diplomat said on Wednesday (Aug 25).

"Director Stanekzai assured me that Afghans with legal documents will continue to have the opportunity to travel on commercial flights after Aug 31," Ambassador Markus Potzel, who is negotiating with the Taleban in Doha, said on Twitter.

The former German envoy to Kabul was referring to the head of the Taleban's political office in Doha, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, with whom he met for talks on Tuesday as Western governments scramble to evacuate citizens and Afghan staff out of Kabul.

"We talked about the urgent need for a functioning airport in Kabul as a prerequisite for (a) diplomatic & NGO presence" in Afghanistan, Potzel, who has been negotiating with the Taleban extensively in the past, added.

The Taleban has asked Turkey for technical help to run Kabul airport after the departure of foreign forces but insists that Ankara's military also withdraw fully by the end-August deadline, two Turkish officials told Reuters.

Potzel noted that Germany has pledged to increase humanitarian aid for the Afghan people by €100 million (S$160 million) but added that the "resumption of development cooperation will be dependent on conditions", as had been the case with the Afghan government in the past.

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