KABUL: Germany has completed the pullout of its last contingent of troops from Afghanistan, German Defense Minister announced on Tuesday, ending a 20-year mission in the still war-battered country.
The last remaining German soldiers of NATO’s Resolute Support mission left the camp in Mazar-e-Sharif by the German Air Force on Tuesday. The soldiers landed in Germany on Wednesday.
“After almost 20 years of this mission, tonight the last of our Bundeswehr soldiers have left Afghanistan,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
“A historical chapter ends, an intensive mission which has challenged and marked the Bundeswehr, in which the Bundeswehr has proved itself in the fight,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said. “A mission, in which members of our armed forces have been injured in body and mind, in which people have lost their lives, in which we have mourned casualties,” the minister said.
Germany sped up its withdrawal considerably after the US President Joe Biden announced in April that he will pull out all American troops. Germany had 1,100 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan before the withdrawal began.
Germany was the leading nation in the north of Afghanistan, and in this capacity was involved in NATO’s Resolute Support training mission. Germany has lost 59 soldiers during its military mission in Afghanistan since 2002.
German troops have fully departed Afghanistan, leaving a legacy of security failure as northern provinces are brimming with violence as Taliban insurgents have been expanding attacks seizing tens of district centres and towns. Since May, they have captured about 90 of the country’s approximately 400 districts.
This is as the opposition and also Germany’s ombudswoman for the armed forces, Eva Högl, have repeatedly called for an evaluation of Germany’s military mission in Afghanistan.