Exodus: Afghan Diplomats Defect as Western Withdrawal Nears
The situation in Afghanistan is becoming so precarious that Afghan diplomats no longer want to return to their homeland. Up to 100 foreign service employees set for rotation back to Kabul from assignments abroad have now defected.
A total of 105 Afghan diplomats were meant to report for duty at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul on Saturday. They were being rotated out of their foreign postings as scheduled, and it was time to return to headquarters. Yet just five of them have resurfaced. The others have apparently remained in the countries where they had been posted, among them several employees of the Afghan Embassy in Berlin.
The Fiction of a Bright Future
Many Afghan diplomats are the sons and daughters of high-ranking politicians who are also trying to go abroad as soon as possible and stay there until the situation in Afghanistan becomes clearer.
International foundations and organizations that organize educational trips and conferences for Afghans abroad have also become more cautious recently. They know that more and more trip participants will disappear. It is said in Kabul that several Afghan teachers never returned from a trip organized recently by the German government. And a high-ranking official from the Afghan Foreign Ministry called home during a trip to Canada to say that he wouldn't be coming back.
"I can confirm this trend," says Tinko Weibezahl, the head of the Kabul office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. "In recent months some of our most qualified contacts have left the country. The refugees are above all "the highly educated, who were much more optimistic about the future a year ago," Weibezahl says. Government ministers, lawmakers and senior military officials are also attempting to get their families out of the country.
The story of the hopeful future of an Afghanistan that stands on its own two feet, that is safe and peaceful and democratically governed, "is just a story that the West likes to tell us," says a senior official from the presidential palace in Kabul. "This story has just one catch: Most Afghans don't believe it."
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