German Greens MEP Sven Giegold has called on the EU to offer protection for locally employed civilians in Afghanistan.
He said, “The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has also put the local personnel of EU missions in the country at imminent risk. At least 600 local staff and their close family members of the EU Police Mission (EUPOL), the EU Delegation and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) are at risk. While EUPOL has worked almost exclusively without outsourcing, the EU Delegation and especially ECHO also have numerous external contractual and cooperation partners, who are now in danger. Within the EU, there has been a dispute for some time about a distribution formula instead of granting people unbureaucratic protection.”
Giegold, spokesperson for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the European Parliament, commented, “Europe must live up to its responsibility for the local staff of EU missions. Instead of acting quickly, the European Commission and national governments are quarreling about responsibilities. It is pathetic how the European Commission and the EU member states shift the responsibility for the local forces back and forth. There is still no effective solution for local staff. Finland and the Netherlands have now started to help, but we are still waiting for commitments from many other member states. We also need an airlift for the staff of the EU missions in Afghanistan. The European Commission’s inconsequential appeals to the member states behind closed doors are completely inadequate. Ursula von der Leyen must take up the issue with urgency and ensure the protection of the local forces by the EU member states.
He added, “In Germany, too, the Government hides behind a smoke screen when it comes to dealing with its own local forces. The German Government conceals its inaction behind a narrow definition of local staff. Only those directly employed by German public agencies during the last two years are to receive protection; subcontractors are already excluded. One thing is clear: the Taliban are not interested in German labour law. Defenders of human and women’s rights, artists and media workers who have relied on the protection of the West also deserve our protection.”