Brussels (Brussels Morning) Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, visiting Afghanistan on Thursday, said Germany would continue to support the country after it withdraws its troops, DW reported.
His visit comes on the heels of the announced withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan. Maas stressed that “Germany remains a reliable partner at the side of the people in Afghanistan”.
He expressed hopes that the jihadists who have been fighting for decades would not see the withdrawal as an excuse for further attacks.
Responding to claims that no progress had been achieved during the 20 years of international military presence in Afghanistan, Maas pointed to how girls had not been allowed to attend school under fundamentalist Islamic rule and how citizens now enjoy more rights.
Hopes Taliban will not be violent
He said he believed that the Taliban do not want to destabilise Afghanistan and in thanking the German troops for the role they played, he said their presence “had ensured that there is more security here”.
The US has announced plans to complete the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan by 11 September this year, the 20th anniversary of 9/11 attack in the US.
US Central Command stated it would continue monitoring the situation and respond by moving troops in and out of the country as needed.
NATO plans to withdraw all 10,000 of its troops in Afghanistan, 1,100 of which are German.
Some fear withdrawal could undo progress
Some observers are concerned that the withdrawal of international forces could open the way the rise of an authoritarian regime involving the Taliban, which would undo progress on human rights.
While the Taliban have promised to respect women’s rights should they come to power, their uncompromising Islamist values could lead to an erosion of freedoms.
During their rule in the past, the Taliban imposed strict societal rules, handed out severe corporal punishments and carried out executions.