Green politician Erik Marquardt criticizes G20 Afghanistan summit: "You make the same mistakes you made 20 years ago"

In many metropolises of the world there are further demonstrations for the people of Afghanistan, like here in the picture in the French city of Toulouse.

Photo: / Alain Pitton


The Taliban are conquering Afghanistan and there is an outcry in German society. Then comes the general election and the situation in the Hindu Kush is almost forgotten again. But only almost.

14.10.2021, 14:2914.10.2021, 14:52

Joana Rettig

“Kabul Airlift” continues to save. Just not as effective in the media as the initiative launched by Green politician Erik Marquardt, among others Life was called, did in August – at the time when the new old Afghanistan crisis had reached its temporary climax. At least in terms of media attention.

That Germans are still stuck in Afghanistan, that still there people are persecuted by the radical Islamic Taliban that women’s rights and human rights are threatened to be completely undermined – but that is still happening. People want to flee, but the ways out of the country are becoming increasingly difficult.

Erik Marquardt has worked with the aid organization "Sea Watch" and the filmmaker Theresa Breuer took the initiative "Kabul Airlift" brought to life.

Erik Marquardt started the “Kabul Airlift” initiative together with the aid organization “Sea Watch” and the filmmaker Theresa Breuer.

Photo: Fred MARVAUX

Marquardt, who is currently in Berlin works with his initiative, describes the current situation in an interview with watson as follows:

“The current situation is still quite dynamic. The way to neighboring Pakistan is becoming more and more difficult for the people in Afghanistan. The bureaucratic hurdles make it almost impossible for the local people to find out: Who actually fulfills the requirements to be evacuated? Who.” can go out, who is not? “

The initiative wants to support this. According to Marquardt, the group has now set up what is known as case management. Means: A “department” within the initiative takes care of individual cases of people who have asked for help at the “Kabul Airlift”. “Of course we cannot promise anyone that we will be evacuated,” explains Marquardt. “But we can provide people with information: Where can you get help? Where can I find programs that take care of the evacuation? And sometimes we can also help with the evacuation. “

This be done aBut now less and less by chartered aircraft, but by land.

Situation threatens in winter
to escalate

In addition to the already difficult circumstances, there is another problem: winter.

Because even now, a few weeks after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, the humanitarian situation for millions of people in the country is catastrophic. There is a lack of food, drinking water, medical care and the power supply is becoming scarcer and scarcer. If winter comes now, this situation will worsen drastically again, warns Deutsche Welthungerhilfe.

NATO ended its almost 20-year military operation in Afghanistan a few weeks ago, then the Taliban came back and conquered the country. The result: International aid organizations also had to stop their projects and protect all helpers, so get out of the country.

A few days ago, the heads of state and government of the 20 most influential industrialized countries in the world met on this. At a special G20 summit, the participants decided to contribute one billion euros in humanitarian aid.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and other representatives of the G20 countries want to prevent a state collapse in Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s takeover. “To watch 40 million people fall into chaos because neither electricity can be supplied nor a financial system exists, that cannot and must not be the goal of the international community,” said the CDU politician on Tuesday after the summit. If the entire currency or financial system collapses in the country, humanitarian aid can no longer be provided.

“You make the same mistakes that you made during the crisis in Syria: you don’t look at what’s going well and what’s going bad. You don’t ask yourself where we can put how much money in a targeted manner?”

Green politician Erik Marquardt

According to UN figures, around 18 million Afghans – and thus half of the total population – are dependent on humanitarian aid. 93 percent of households do not have enough to eat. According to the UN, basic services are about to collapse.

The heads of state and government of the G20 countries discussed the crisis in the Hindu Kush for the first time at a special summit. At the invitation of Italy, the video channel spoke superficially about the humanitarian situation in the country and foreign concerns about new terrorist threats. It was also about how the Taliban should be dealt with in the future.

For Green politician Marquardt, the decisions from the G20 summit do not go far enough. “You make the same mistakes that you made 20 years ago that you made during the crisis in Syria has done: You just don’t look at what’s going well and what’s going bad. You don’t ask yourself how much money can we put in where, “he says.

“If you had done that, you would not have come to the amount of one billion euros.” With more than 40 million people in the country, one billion euros is a drop in the ocean. “A billion – that sounds like a lot at first. But if you convert that, that’s 25 euros per person. “

What also worries Marquardt:

“When the acute issue of saving human lives was an acute issue in August, this absurd debate was held here in Germany: 2015 should not be allowed to repeat itself. But 2015 did not fall from the sky. The fact that many people fleeing Syria came to Europe in 2015 was a fact the consequence of years of poor crisis management and the resulting humanitarian crisis in Syria and the neighboring countries. The basic needs of the people have not been adequately taken care of. In Afghanistan, such a humanitarian catastrophe is now looming. “

We also have to ensure that the economic and financial system in Afghanistan does not collapse any further. The Taliban are already unable to pay off many debts to neighboring countries. This affects, for example, the power supply in the country.

“Sure, we can’t go there now and say: ‘Well done, dear Taliban, we support you’ – but we also can’t just say goodbye to our responsibility for the people in Afghanistan.”

Green politician Erik Marquardt

The G20 states, however, find it difficult to provide economic assistance. Because so one would support the Taliban system, which could amount to recognition of the Taliban government – you want to avoid that.

Marquardt is critical of this. “Sure, we can’t go there now and say: ‘Well done, dear Taliban, we support you’ – but we also can’t just say goodbye to our responsibility for the people in Afghanistan.” Marquard thinks the Taliban are finding other ways to make deals with – then possibly authoritarian – states.

So he pleads for negotiations. “To at least ensure a minimum of women’s rights, right? children to send to schools. “Marquardt also says:” We may not reward the Taliban, but we must not punish the population either. You then suffer twice. “

Appreciation for deployment in Afghanistan

On Wednesday the Bundestag and the federal government received the approximately 90,000 men deployed in Afghanistan and women I would like to thank the Bundeswehr for their many years of service. A closing roll call in front of the Ministry of Defense was followed by a grand tattoo in front of the Reichstag building as the highest military ceremony of the German armed forces.

The memorial act in front of the Ministry of Defense also commemorated the 59 soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, 35 of them in combat or attacks. “You have paid the highest price a soldier can pay on behalf of his country. We are deeply indebted to you”said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who, like Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU), spoke to the soldiers and guests.

Marquardt said in a watson conversation that honoring the soldiers is fundamentally important. “As a result of political decisions, these people not only put their lives at risk, but in some cases also gave their lives. They were on site in Afghanistan and created space to enforce women’s rights and educational rights. They deserve an appreciation. ”

However, in retrospect, wrong political decisions have to be discussed again, believes the Green politician. “What do we learn from this disaster? What can we do differently? These questions now have to be on the table.”

(with dpa)

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