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Afghanistan suffering 'humanitarian catastrophe' says Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock

Annalena Baerbock will make her first trip to Italy as Germany's top diplomat

Annalena Baerbock will make her first trip to Italy as Germany's top diplomat

The German government has vowed to speed up the evacuation of those in need of protection in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday.

With Afghanistan "heading into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our time," Baerbock outlined Germany's "plan of action" that includes cutting back on bureaucracy to hasten the process.

"Major sectors of the economy have collapsed, many people are starving," Baerbock told reporters. "One can hardly bear it when one reads that families in their desperation are selling their daughters to buy food."

24 million lives in danger

The recently installed foreign minister said some 24 million Afghans were at risk of dying this winter.

"We cannot allow hundreds of thousands of children to die because we don't want to take action," Baerbock said.

Four months after the military airlift ended, Baerbock said that more than 15,000 people whom Germany had vowed to take in remain in Afghanistan, including some 135 German nationals. She insisted that "they have not been forgotten."

Germany has so far facilitated the evacuation of around 10,000 citizens since the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August.

Taliban guilty of 'war crimes' says Amnesty

Last week, rights group Amnesty International held the Taliban, the United States military and Afghan security forces responsible for attacks that caused large-scale civilian suffering amid the fall of the government in Kabul.

Amnesty's report said the Taliban committed "war crimes" during the collapse of the internationally backed Afghan government.

jsi/aw (AP, AFP. dpa)