German troops pulled out from Afghanistan

Germany has pulled out all of its troops from Afghanistan, ending a nearly 20-year deployment there alongside other international forces, the defence ministry announced cited by news wires. The last of the troops were airlifted on Tuesday out of their base at Mazar-I Sharif in northern Afghanistan. The US aims to complete its own withdrawal by 11 September.

"After nearly 20 years of deployment, the last soldiers of our Bundeswehr have left Afghanistan this evening," German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement. "They are on the way back. A historic chapter in which the Bundeswehr proved itself in combat comes to an end," she added.

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. She also 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 Afghanistan.

Germany stepped up its pull-out after US President Joe Biden announced he was pulling US troops out of the country after 20 years there. Before the pull-out, Germany had 1,100 soldiers operating as part of the 9,600-strong NATO mission, second only to the US military presence. Britain, Italy and Turkey also have a significant military presence. Smaller contributors to the international force, such as Denmark, Estonia and Spain, have already pulled out their forces.

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