BERLIN: Germany's president on Tuesday (Aug 17) criticised Western powers over chaotic scenes at Kabul airport where thousands of Afghans gathered in a bid to flee the country after the Taliban swept back to power.
"The images of desperation at Kabul airport are shameful for the political West," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, calling the situation in Afghanistan a "human tragedy for which we share responsibility".
Germany is duty-bound to "do everything it can to bring our people, and all Afghans who stood for years by their side, to safety", said Steinmeier, who was previously foreign minister.
It also has to help those in Afghanistan who are at risk, including "many courageous women", he said.
"The failure of the years-long efforts to build a stable and viable society in Afghanistan raises fundamental questions for the past and future of our foreign policy and military engagement," he said.
German forces were deployed for almost two decades in Afghanistan as part of the US-led NATO operation.
The 150,000 men and women sent by Germany at various points over the years made it the second biggest contributor of NATO troops there, after the United States.
Germany withdrew its last troops at the end of June following Washington's decision to leave the country.