BERLIN – Dozens of people evacuated from Afghanistan by the United States military have applied for asylum in Germany during their layovers at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base, officials said Tuesday.
So far about 90 people, a fraction of the roughly 34,000 flown to Ramstein to date, have requested asylum in Germany and their decision to do so is in keeping with existing rules and practice, both countries said. Some 22,000 evacuees have already left the base for the United States or other locations.
“We are following all previously-established legal protocols, and referring any requests for asylum to the appropriate German authorities," said Joseph Giordono-Scholz, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.
“The U.S. Air Base at Ramstein is on German sovereign territory,” Germany's Interior Ministry said in a statement. “Germany asylum law applies.”
Still, German authorities have reached out to their U.S. counterparts to discuss the issue, which comes less than a month before Germany's national election on Sept. 26.
“The motivation for the asylum requests will be examined at their hearings,” the ministry. "The fact that the applicants are in the custody of American authorities who do not threaten them but have previously rescued them from Afghanistan will be considered.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is to meet German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at Ramstein on Wednesday.