Berlin (dpa) – The Bundeswehr is withdrawing from the Afghan Kunduz in the coming weeks.
The approximately 100 soldiers stationed there will be transferred to the northern headquarters of NATO’s “Resolute Support” training mission in Mazar-i-Sharif, as confirmed to the DPA by the operational command in Geltow near Potsdam. The newspaper «Bild» had already reported about it.
The specially secured Bundeswehr base at “Camp Pamir” of the Afghan army remains in place. Depending on the requirements, teams of consultants will be flown there in the future to continue to fulfill the training assignment. However, there will no longer be a permanent presence of the Bundeswehr in Kunduz.
A total of 1,250 Bundeswehr soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan, most of them in Mazar-i-Sharif. The third location is the capital Kabul.
According to information from the DPA, the decision to withdraw Kunduz was taken in late summer by the military leadership of the NATO operation in Kabul. It has nothing to do with the accelerated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, decided by US President Donald Trump last week. By January 15, the strength of the US forces will have been reduced from about 4,500 to 2,500 soldiers. Just five days later, on January 20, Trump will be replaced in the White House by election winner Joe Biden.
The US signed an agreement with the militant Islamist Taliban in late February that promises the gradual withdrawal of all US and NATO forces by the end of April 2021. The Taliban promised peace talks with the government in Kabul, which began in September. However, the process stalled in the dispute over procedural issues.
It is now completely unclear whether the conditions for withdrawal will be met by the end of April. Not until February will a meeting of NATO defense ministers take place on how things will go in Afghanistan. The Bundeswehr has therefore designed various recording scenarios and already 100 logisticians for planning and handling on site.
Kunduz is a fortune for the troops. Here, ten years ago, German soldiers fought for the first time since the end of World War II. Nowhere in Afghanistan were more Germans killed than in Kunduz and the neighboring Baghlan province. In all, 59 soldiers were killed during the Bundeswehr’s 19-year deployment in Afghanistan – most of them in attacks or fighting.
When the Bundeswehr first withdrew from Kunduz in 2013, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière said: “Kunduz, for us this is the place where the Bundeswehr first fought and had to learn how to fight. That was a turning point – not only for the Bundeswehr, but also for German society. “
The German field camp, where 900 soldiers were stationed at the time, was closed. Only in March 2018, 100 German soldiers returned to Kunduz, to “Camp Pamir”, to advise the Afghan army. After almost three years it is over quickly.