Biden, Merkel discuss Afghanistan evacuation

Washington (AFP) –


US President Joe Biden and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday discussed the perilous evacuation of foreigners and Afghan allies underway at the Kabul airport, the White House said.

In a phone call, the two leaders also talked about the need to coordinate humanitarian aid for vulnerable Afghans.

Biden and Merkel "praised the ongoing efforts of their military and civilian personnel who are working closely together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens, vulnerable Afghans, and the courageous Afghan nationals who worked tirelessly over the last 20 years," the White House said in a statement.

This was the second phone call between Biden and a foreign leader that the White House has reported since the crisis erupted in Kabul with a lightning Taliban victory after two decades of war.

On Tuesday, Biden talked with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and they announced a virtual summit of G7 leaders to take place next week.

The sudden Taliban victory has sparked fears of a large-scale humanitarian crisis both inside Afghanistan and possibly involving waves of refugees seeking asylum abroad, including in Western Europe.

For now, though, US and allied leaders are focused on an effort to safely extract thousands of their citizens and allies while the victorious Taliban consolidates its control over the country.

The G7, which Britain heads this year, comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.