TASHKENT (Reuters) – Uzbekistan is willing to open its borders to people fleeing from Taliban rule in Afghanistan who are on a German list of those at-risk in the country and need to be evacuated, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told journalists on Monday.
Germany has identified tens of thousands more people who need to be evacuated from Afghanistan, including German citizens, local Afghan staff and at-risk groups such as human rights activists and journalists.
Maas is on a trip to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Qatar, among other to find ways to evacuate these people, either by plane if Kabul airport can be kept open after NATO withdraws or overland to neighbouring countries.
“Uzbekistan is prepared to help us with this group of people,” Maas said.
Maas had told Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday that Germany was ready to support efforts to continue to operate Kabul airport after NATO’s withdrawal.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Edmund Blair)