Germany has said that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month was a collective failure of the West, warning that celebrating the failure is dangerous as the “developments threaten us all.”
In his address to the UN General Assembly Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “Yes, we failed on many things in Afghanistan. But our failure should not be cause for schadenfreude for others.”
He said, “I am deliberately using this German word that has made its way into many languages: schadenfreude. A mindset in which loss to one is gain to another fails to do justice to the reality of our interconnected world.”
Steinmeier urged the world to collectively respond to a range of pressing challenges in the aftermath of the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan and what it means for the world.
He said, “Regional instability, weakening state structures, refugee and migrant flows, religious extremism and terrorism, and new forms of conflict – hybrid, digital, environmental and resource-based. Such developments threaten us all and we all have to deal with them. Small and large alike.”
He regretted West’s inability to help establish a genuinely representative government in Afghanistan that had legitimacy and enjoyed the support of the Afghan population.
“The fall of Kabul marks a turning point. We achieved our goal of defeating those who wrought horrendous terror on this city 20 years ago. But despite immense endeavour and investment, we were not able in two decades to establish a self-sustaining political order in Afghanistan. My country also shares responsibility. And we have an ongoing responsibility, particularly toward the many Afghans who had hoped for a more peaceful, free, and democratic future.”
Germany wrapped up its withdrawal from Afghanistan in late June, which was the country’s biggest military involvement since World War II.
German Defense Ministry says that around 150,000 German troops served in the 20-year mission in Afghanistan, which cost over $14.5n and claimed the lives of 59 soldiers.