Germany pulls troops out of Afghanistan

Germany pulls troops out of Afghanistan
Mon Oct 7, 2013 10:19:21

Germany has started pulling out its troops from Afghanistan and handed over its command base in the northern province of Kunduz to the Afghan security forces.

The camp will be used by the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Civil Order Police.

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle travelled to Afghanistan for the handover ceremony on Sunday.

“We hope and expect that the Afghan defense forces will ensure security in and around Kunduz and, if need be, restore it,” said de Maiziere.

The Kunduz camp, lies some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Around 100,000 German troops have been sent to Afghanistan since 2002, and 54 have died in the war-torn country.

The gradual pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan is due to be completed by the end of 2014. However, Germany is planning to keep up to 800 soldiers in Afghanistan beyond then.

With around 4,000 forces mostly stationed in Afghanistan’s northern provinces of Kunduz, Balkh and Badakhshan, Germany ranks third after the United States and the UK in terms of the number of troops in the country. The US-led war on Afghanistan is widely unpopular in Germany.

On April 18, the German defense minister announced that Berlin had proposed to keep between roughly 600 and 800 of its forces in Afghanistan for a two-year period beginning from 2015.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but the country is still gripped by insecurity.

Earlier on Sunday, four American soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan.

The increasing number of military casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger in the United States and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war.


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