Germany completes withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

Germany has completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan more quickly than expected. Begun in May and planned for July 4, it was acted on Tuesday June 29 by the German Defense Ministry, ending Germany’s deadliest military mission since World War II.

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“After almost 20 years of deployment, the last soldiers of our Bundeswehr left Afghanistan this evening. They are now on their way back ”Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer explained in a statement.

“A historic chapter is coming to an end, an intensive deployment which challenged and shaped the Bundeswehr, in which the Bundeswehr proved itself in combat. A mission during which members of our armed forces were wounded in body and soul, during which people lost their lives, during which we had to mourn those who fell ”, she added. According to the Bundeswehr, 59 German soldiers were killed during the military operation that began in 2001, including 35 in combat or following attacks by militants.

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The last soldiers were transported by four military planes from the Marmal field camp in Mazâr-e Charîf. These were two German A400 M transport planes and two American C17 planes.

Pressure from Washington

Until the start of their withdrawal in May, the German contingent still numbered some 1,100 soldiers operating as part of the International Security Assistance Force and Resolute Support missions.

The German armed forces recently had to speed up the withdrawal significantly after the US administration of President Joe Biden accelerated their own withdrawal of troops stationed in that country for 20 years.

The United States, as the main contributor of troops, had initially pledged to withdraw before September 11, date of 20e anniversary of the terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Islamist organization Al-Qaeda in the United States. Washington thus lobbied for a withdrawal of international troops before July 4, the American national holiday.

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So far, the countries most involved in Afghanistan have been the United States, Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Italy. These five countries have deployed 6,000 of the 9,592 soldiers engaged by 36 NATO member countries and partners such as Ukraine (10 soldiers) in the “Resolute Support” alliance operation.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters