Bundeswehr withdraws soldiers from Afghanistan

Bundeswehr withdraws soldiers from Afghanistan

After signing an agreement between the United States and the Taliban, the Bundeswehr is reducing its troops based in Afghanistan. However, the mandate within the NATO mission will continue to be fulfilled.

© picture-alliance / dpa / M. Kappeler
German soldiers guard a convoy at Camp Marmal camp (archive photo)

“Specifically, this means that around 18 percent of the posts in the German contingent should no longer be filled by mid-July 2020. This planning has been agreed with all coalition partners within the Resolute Support Mission,” said a spokesman for the Defense Ministry of the German Press Agency. The Bundeswehr can continue to fulfill the mandate laid down in the mandate in its area of ​​responsibility in the north.

Reduction possible within the NATO framework

There are currently around 1,300 German soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO “Resolute Support” mission. Internal audits had shown that the task of training and advising Afghan troops could continue even if the numbers were reduced.

The commander of the NATO mission has instructed the armed forces involved to check which posts may remain vacant in order to conserve treatment capacities in the wake of the corona pandemic. German forces are particularly affected by this step at the headquarters in Kabul.

Corona does not stop at assignments abroad

Four members of the armed forces have now been tested positive for the novel corona virus, a letter from Resolute Support said. COVID-19 affects the entire world, as well as international and Afghan troops, General Austin Scott Miller, NATO force commander in Afghanistan, said in a video conference with Afghan security forces.

The focus with this particular virus must be on preventing the spread. This is difficult even under normal circumstances, but “almost impossible if we have violence”.

Approximately 1,500 civilian NATO employees from different nations who had traveled within the past week were in precautionary facilities for examination. Suspected cases with symptoms of Covid-19 are in isolation.

Uncertain situation despite agreement

At the end of February, after long negotiations with the Taliban, the United States signed an agreement on ways to peace in Afghanistan. It is to initiate the gradual withdrawal of all international troops from the country and lead to peace talks within Afghanistan. Despite the agreement, violence continued initially. In addition, there are still disputes about the outcome of the presidential election. The U.S. Armed Forces have already started to withdraw.

fab / kle (dpa, Twitter)

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