The Bundeswehr is due to leave Afghanistan by mid-August

conflicts The Bundeswehr is due to leave Afghanistan by mid-August

Conflict in Afghanistan

A CH53 helicopter of the German Armed Forces flies over a dingo near Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan. Photo: picture alliance / dpa

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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.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas assured Afghanistan that support in the civilian sector would continue after the withdrawal. "We spend almost half a billion euros every year to provide reconstruction work in Afghanistan, and that will continue," he said in the ARD "Tagesthemen". He is also betting that the Afghan government will negotiate peace with the rebels Taliban sustainable results would be achieved so that chaos does not break out again in Afghanistan after the troops have withdrawn. "We absolutely have to prevent that."

On Wednesday, NATO decided to initiate the withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1st. Before that, the United States as the largest troop contributor, set the withdrawal date to September 11 - the 20th anniversary of the Al Qaeda network's terrorist attacks in the United States. Germany is the second largest provider of troops after the USA. There are a total of around 10 regular soldiers (excluding mercenaries) in Afghanistan, including 000 Americans.

Just a few hours after US President Joe Biden's official withdrawal announcement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Kabul for a visit. Blinken had informed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that the US withdrawal would not weaken strategic relations between the two countries, the Afghan presidential palace said. The US continued to feel obliged to Afghanistan and its people. "I'm here to demonstrate our continued commitment," said Blinken in the ToloNews video.

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.

Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, the US government had agreed with the militant Islamist Taliban that all international troops would withdraw by May 1. Biden is now breaking this promise. The Taliban called on troops from the USA and other NATO countries on Thursday to leave the country “immediately”. They also accused the US of further violations of the agreement, including the belated release of Taliban prisoners, the fact that Taliban members were still on UN blacklists, and a further 1200 unspecified violations. You yourself would have fulfilled all obligations.

The insurgents had recently threatened new violence against NATO troops if the deadline of May 1 was not met. Both Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned the Taliban that they would have to expect a powerful response in the event of any attacks on soldiers from the USA or other NATO countries during the withdrawal phase.

dpa