German soldiers leave Afghanistan after nearly 20 years
Germany's last troops left Afghanistan on Tuesday, started in May, the defence ministry announced on Tuesday.
Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted that the last Bundeswehr soldiers "left Afghanistan safely” on Tuesday evening, ending a nearly 20-year deployment there alongside US and other international forces.
"A historic chapter comes to an end, an intensive deployment that challenged and shaped the Bundeswehr, in which the Bundeswehr proved itself in combat," she added.
Germany’s contingent, which focused on northern Afghanistan, was the second biggest in the current Resolute Support mission after the United States'. Its last bases were in Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul.
On Twitter, the minister offered her thanks to all the 150,000 men and women who had served there since 2001, saying they could be proud of their service.
And she paid tribute to those killed and wounded in service there. "You will not be forgotten," she said.
According to the army, 59 German soldiers have been killed since 2001 in the course of their service in Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden and NATO announced in mid-April that they would pull out the roughly 10,000 foreign troops still in Afghanistan at the time by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York that prompted the mission.
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.
The multinational camp in northern Mazar-i-Sharif led by Germany had been reinforced with troops and mortars, ramping up security for the duration of the withdrawal to guard the base against attacks by the Taliban.