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The last German soldiers left Afghanistan, announced the Minister of Defense on Tuesday evening, as part of the accelerated withdrawal of NATO contingents, including that of the United States, which is already largely effective.
It was one of the most committed Western powers in Afghanistan. Germany announced on Tuesday June 29 that it had completed the withdrawal of its forces as part of the accelerated departure of NATO troops. “After almost 20 years of deployment, the last soldiers of our Bundeswehr left Afghanistan this (Tuesday) evening. They are now on their way back,” Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement. .
“A historic chapter is coming to an end, an intensive deployment which challenged and shaped the Bundeswehr, in which the Bundeswehr has proven itself in combat,” she added. Germany was with the United States, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Italy one of the five countries most engaged in Afghanistan within the “Resolute Support” mission.
These countries have deployed 6,000 of the 9,592 soldiers engaged by 36 NATO member countries and alliance partners in the operation. “Resolute Support” was a training mission for Afghan forces to enable them to ensure the security of their country after the departure of foreign forces.
After 20 years of presence, NATO announced on April 29 the start of the withdrawal of its troops, which opens a period of immense uncertainty for Afghanistan, still in the throes of violence. Other smaller contingents, such as those from Spain, Estonia or Denmark have already left the country.
According to the Bundeswehr, 59 German soldiers were killed during the military operation which began in 2001. The last soldiers were transported by four military planes from the Marmal camp to Mazâr-e Charîf. These were two German A400 M transport planes and two American C17 planes.
American deadline September 11
United States President Joe Biden has set a deadline for the American withdrawal on September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks that led Washington to overthrow the Taliban regime that housed al-Qaeda jihadists. The withdrawal has so far been carried out with vigor, fueling speculation that it will be completed as early as July. Asked Tuesday by AFP, NATO indicated that “the withdrawal of (its) forces is taking place in an orderly and coordinated manner”, without further details on the timetable.
“As we reduce our military presence, we will continue to support Afghanistan, providing training and financial support for Afghan security forces and institutions, maintaining a diplomatic presence in Kabul and funding the operation of the airport. international, ”added an alliance source.
The Pentagon, for its part, did not comment on this German announcement. Until the start of the withdrawal in May, the German contingent still numbered some 1,100 troops.
In Afghanistan, the security situation has deteriorated significantly for several weeks. Many experts fear that the Taliban insurgents will regain control of the country and impose a fundamentalist regime similar to the one they set up between 1996 and 2001.
Fighting has been raging for several days in Kunduz province between government forces and the Taliban. Since the beginning of May, the latter have launched several major offensives in rural areas and have regained control of many Afghan districts.
Some observers fear that they could re-seize the capital Kabul after the departure of the last Western soldiers. The question of the fate of the thousands of Afghans who worked with the international forces as interpreters is also thorny. Faced with these uncertainties, Joe Biden assured his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani last week the “support” of his country. The United States has already announced that it is preparing the evacuation of its Afghan interpreters.
More than 18,000 Afghans and 45,000 immediate family members have already obtained visas and immigrated to the United States, as part of a program for interpreters, special ops and those who have taken risks while working with the Americans. But 18,000 additional requests are still under consideration.