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Commission of Inquiry: lessons learned from the failure in Afghanistan

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Status: 07/07/2022 03:46

Processing of the mission in Afghanistan begins. The Board of Inquiry and the Board of Inquiry don’t just want to clarify why the mission failed. It is also important to avoid mistakes in the future.

By Kai Küstner and Michael Stempfle, ARD Capital Studio

Dramatic, chaotic, heartbreaking: the images of the last hours of Western troops in Afghanistan gave exactly the impression we had wanted to avoid at all costs: the impression of flight.

Thousands of distraught Afghans, fearing death, thronged Kabul airport, secured by barbed wire, as the last Allied planes took off in August 2021. Thousands of people whom Germany had promised protection are remained there and were handed over to the Taliban. There is a lot to work on.

The treatment begins

The 20 years spent in the Hindu Kush must be examined by a commission of inquiry. A commission of inquiry must examine the last months of the German mission in Afghanistan, it must now be appointed by the Bundestag. “We will work together in Parliament to learn our lessons.” To learn lessons, as Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says in the most beautiful Denglisch. The hasty – some say “unnecessary” – withdrawal of Western troops had dramatic consequences not only for the Afghans.

“We will have to clarify which measures should have been taken earlier,” says the committee’s designated chairman, SPD politician Ralf Stegner. “It also includes inadequate contingency plans for the German Embassy and difficulties in evacuating and accommodating vulnerable local staff.”

As the ARD Capital Studio exclusively reported at the time, had already warned the German Embassy in Kabul in the weeks before the Taliban came to power of a threat against their personnel, without the Foreign Ministry noticing hear about.

Even two days before the capture of Kabul, the Foreign Ministry and the Federal Intelligence Service firmly assumed that the extremists had no interest in seizing the capital. A gross error in judgement, which should also have led to the failure of the evacuation of the German embassy in Kabul by a hair’s breadth ARD Research show.

Criticism of the BND

The BND had collected a lot of information over the years during the deployment of the Bundeswehr. From the expert’s point of view, it is all the more astonishing that the secret services underestimated the speed with which the Taliban would take Kabul. Gerhard Conrad, a former senior BND official, criticizes that the BND “only updated an assessment of the situation from previous reports and did not undertake any independent reassessment” during the decisive days.

BND President Bruno Kahl had already announced during a hearing with the intelligence services last October that his agency wanted to improve its forecasting capabilities – particularly with a view to Afghanistan. The conclusion for Green politician Konstantin von Notz, Chairman of the Parliamentary Control Committee: In future, a modern intelligence service must cooperate more closely with science and civil society in comparable situations.

“Lack of assistance” to local staff?

Months before the final withdrawal of the Bundeswehr, a permanent question of contention was how to deal with the helpers from the Germans, the so-called local forces. Marcus Grotian of the Afghan Local Forces Sponsorship Network called the fact that they were not brought to safety in time while there was still time a “lack of assistance”. In the interview, Grotian doubts that the feds really want to protect people. This must now be clarified by the commission of inquiry.

Live social on the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ensuing debacle

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According to the Foreign Office, it has now been possible to bring 21,000 Afghans in need of protection to Germany – but thousands more are still waiting to leave the country for fear of death. CDU foreign affairs expert Roderich Kiesewetter criticizes that the Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of the Interior did not work well together and instead transferred responsibility to one another. other. Fear of refugee debates in Germany has apparently prevented some parts of the government from finding earlier, more substantial and more effective solutions for local staff.

“The failure is clear”

A commission of inquiry should not only examine the errors of the last weeks and the last months of deductions, but the whole operation of 20 years – parallel to the commission of inquiry. There is no doubt that there is plenty to do here too. Ursula Schröder from the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg also says in an interview with ARD Capital Studio: “The failure is clear.” Not all goals were achieved.

There are doubts as to whether the clarification will really be as ruthless as once promised: “A crow does not peck the eye of the other”, suspects AfD MP Stefan Keuter, pointing out that both the ‘Union that the SPD in the final phase of the Afghan mission. Others believe the Greens and FDP may also have reservations about the coalition partner traffic lights. The fact that the vote on the appointment of the committee was postponed until the last hour is also seen as a discouraging sign of the desire to clarify the situation: according to the timetable, the Bundestag is only supposed to deal with Afghanistan Friday night .

Source www.tagesschau.de

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