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Germany reaffirms security commitment to Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said that the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan had taken place too quickly, a media report said.

Addressing German troops in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, she said the ISAF was too hasty in its withdrawal from the country.

According to the DW, she voiced little hope that the conflict there would end anytime soon.

“I haven’t forgotten how it was at the beginning when we got out …too quickly with too big a reduction in troop numbers [in 2014],” she said, stressing that it was plain to everyone that there was still ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

“There’s still a lot to do but I’m convinced that we’re going in the right direction with our mission there,” von der Leyen added.

She said that the Afghan army would still need support and training from coalition troops for some time.

“We’ll need to have a lot of stamina — Afghanistan will occupy us for a long time yet.”

German Bundeswehr troops have been in the country for 16 years in the wake of a US-led invasion in 2001 as part of Washington’s “war on terror” following the September 11 attacks.

The mission is the largest Bundeswehr deployment ever, and also the one that has involved the most losses. Currently, some 1,000 German soldiers have remained on in the country, mainly to train Afghan forces.

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