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Friday, July 23, 2021

German troops fully withdraw from Afghanistan after 20-year deadly mission

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The US said it is expected to complete its troop withdrawal ahead of the September 11th deadline.

German troops completed and finalised a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on Tuesday after almost two decades, ending its deadliest military mission since the second World War, Reuters reported.

“Our last troops left Afghanistan this night after almost 20 years and are on their way home,” German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement.

Some 570 soldiers from Afghanistan were sent home as part of the German troop withdrawal.

“This is the end of a historic chapter, of an intensive mission which has tested the Bundeswehr and in which the Bundeswehr has proven itself in combat.”

Germany had the second largest troop presence in Afghanistan after the US, where up to 150,000 soldiers were deployed over the past two decades. At least 59 German soldiers died during the war, mainly due to militant attacks or in combat.

“Wrapping up the operation, Germany said it would have to redeploy the equivalent of around 800 containers of equipment such as armoured vehicles, helicopters, weapons and ammunition as the drawdown began,” Reuters reported.

The latest troop pull out comes as the US works to withdraw its remaining forces in Afghanistan by September 11th, the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks in New York that initially triggered the start of the mission.

Afghanistan’s Ghani meets President Biden amid US troop withdrawal

On Tuesday, US officials told Reuters that Washington is just days away from completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan ahead of the deadline, which was announced by President Joe Biden earlier in April this year.

A US pullout would end America’s longest war.

However, some 650 of American forces are expected to remain in the country to protect American diplomats and the US embassy, while providing assistance in securing Kabul’s airport.

Earlier reports also suggested that NATO approached Qatar to secure a base to train Afghan special forces after the foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan concludes.

The base would be utilised to train and equip Afghan security forces fighting the Taliban, which has waged an insurgency against the Afghan government since 2001.

Two sources said the United States, Britain and Turkey were among the NATO countries ready to send a force to train Afghan forces in Qatar.

There have been heightened security concerns in Afghanistan since Biden’s announcement this year, which include the likelihood of a civil war.

According to Reuters, the Taliban has increased its attacks throughout the country, with the Pentagon estimating that the insurgent group gained control of 81 Afghanistan’s 419 district centres.

Meanwhile peace talks continue in Qatar, months after they began in September last year, without signs of progress since then.


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