Last German troops leave Afghanistan after nearly 20 years

More than 150,000 German troops have served in Afghanistan since 2001

German soldiers at a camp in Afghanistan on March 25, 2018. Reuters
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Germany’s last troops left Afghanistan on Tuesday after nearly 20 years of presence in the country, the defence minister said.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted that the last soldiers “left Afghanistan safely” on Tuesday evening.

Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer thanked the more than 150,000 troops who have served there since 2001 and said that “they can be proud of this mission".

The German military, or Bundeswehr, said the last troops were on their way home through Tbilisi in Georgia.

It said Brig Gen Ansgar Meyer, the last commander of the German contingent, was on board an Airbus A400M plane bringing them home.

Nato agreed in April to withdraw its 7,000 non-American forces from Afghanistan to match US President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from the country, starting on May 1.

At the time, Germany had about 1,100 troops there.

Its contingent, which focused on northern Afghanistan, was the second biggest in the Resolute Support mission after that of the US. Its last bases were in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul.

“An historic chapter is coming to an end, an intense deployment that was exacting for the Bundeswehr ... in which the Bundeswehr proved itself in battle,” Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

The German Parliament first approved sending the military to Afghanistan in December 2001, and the first troops arrived in Kabul in January 2002.

Fifty-nine German troops died in Afghan missions over the years.

American officials say the withdrawal of all US troops will be probably completed by July 4.

Abiut 750 containers’ worth of equipment has been shipped back to Germany by land and air, including 120 vehicles and six helicopters, the Bundeswehr said.

Updated: June 29, 2021, 9:57 PM