The Bundeswehr is due to leave Afghanistan by mid-August

War in Afghanistan The Bundeswehr is due to leave Afghanistan by mid-August

Bundeswehr in Afghanistan

Bundeswehrsoldaten tragen in Afghanistan Waffen zum Depot. Foto: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Suddenly everything happens very quickly now. With the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr could even overtake the US armed forces. However, the operation is not without risk.

After the NATO decision on the withdrawal of troops Afghanistan the 1100 Bundeswehr soldiers stationed there should leave the country by mid-August if possible.

Defense Minister called this goal Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) in a telephone line with the foreign and defense politicians of the parliamentary groups, as the German press agency learned from participants.

The Federal Armed Forces Association demanded that the operation be secured with additional special forces. A total of 800 container loads of material still need to be added Germany to be brought.

Außenminister Heiko Maas sicherte Afghanistan eine Fortsetzung der Unterstützung im zivilen Bereich für die Zeit nach dem Abzug zu. «Wir geben jedes Jahr fast eine halbe Milliarde Euro aus, um Aufbauleistung in Afghanistan zu leisten, und das wird weitergehen», sagte er in den ARD-«Tagesthemen». Er setze außerdem darauf, dass bei den Friedensverhandlungen der afghanischen Regierung mit den aufständischen Taliban nachhaltige Ergebnisse erzielt würden, damit nach dem Troop withdrawal nicht wieder Chaos in Afghanistan ausbreche. «Das müssen wir unbedingt verhindern.»

On Wednesday, NATO decided to initiate the withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1st. Before that, the United States als größter Truppensteller auf den 11. September als Abzugstermin festgelegt – den 20. Jahrestag der Terroranschläge des Netzwerks Al-Kaida in den USA. Deutschland ist nach den USA der zweitgrößte Truppensteller. Insgesamt sind rund 10.000 reguläre Soldaten (ohne Söldner) in Afghanistan, darunter 2500 Amerikaner.

Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in a telephone conversation that there would be close coordination on the withdrawal of troops. The decision to withdraw met with divided reactions in the Bundestag. The CDU foreign politician Jürgen Hardt called them right and courageous. The Greens and the FDP called on the federal government to present a plan to protect the achievements of almost 20 years of service. The FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann named the improvement in the situation of women as an example. "It would simply be fatal if Afghanistan were to revert to medieval conditions in a post-war order."

Left-wing politician Alexander Neu said that the decision to withdraw could have been made 15 years ago. The AfD politician Rüdiger Lucassen also called the step "overdue".

The SPD politician Siemtje Möller called on Kramp-Karrenbauer to ensure a safe withdrawal. "Protecting our soldiers is our top priority."

The Bundeswehr Association also insists on additional security measures. "The dangers of attacks from the outside must be neglected just as much as the risk of possible internal perpetrators," said association chief André Wüstner. He also called for an honest reappraisal of the 20 years of service. "Even if a lot went well and the Bundeswehr fulfilled its mandate, there were undeniably a lot of mistakes." Wüstner named the political course set, the definition of different goals for the deployment as well as "feasibility illusions".

The attacks of September 11, 2001, for which Al-Qaeda was blamed, triggered the entry of US-led troops into Afghanistan at short notice. Within a few weeks, the military operation led to the overthrow of the Taliban regime, which had refused to extradite Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.