What mistakes were made when the German armed forces left Afghanistan and how can they be prevented in the future? A committee of inquiry is now looking into this.

The withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Afghanistan and the subsequent evacuation mission are being investigated by a parliamentary committee of inquiry. Early on Friday morning, the Bundestag decided to appoint the twelve-member body.

By evaluating documents and questioning witnesses, the committee is to clarify in the coming months what mistakes were made at the time and what consequences are to be drawn from them. “Our goal is not to look for someone to blame, but to do everything we can to ensure that the mistakes that have obviously been made are not made again in the future,” said the designated committee chairman Ralf Stegner (SPD).

Withdrawal from Afghanistan

The Bundeswehr left Afghanistan in June 2021 after almost 20 years. In August, Germany took part in an international evacuation operation after the militant Islamist Taliban had taken power in the Hindu Kush within a very short time.

In addition to the traffic light coalition, the CDU and CSU also voted in favor of the application to set up the committee. Criticism of the investigation came only from the AfD and the left. They called for the sense of the entire Afghanistan mission to be reviewed and not just the hasty withdrawal. According to the will of the parliamentary majority, however, this question is to be answered by a commission of inquiry whose appointment is to be voted on by the Bundestag on Friday afternoon.

The committee of inquiry is considering a period beginning on February 29, 2020. On this day, the US government signed the so-called Doha Agreement with the Taliban. In return for the withdrawal of US troops, the Islamists undertook, among other things, to hold peace talks and participate in an inclusive government – which ultimately did not come about. The investigation is scheduled to end on September 30, 2021 – a month after the last US soldiers left Kabul Airport. Dramatic scenes took place there in the second half of August when numerous people wanted to leave the country.