The last soldiers of German mission in Afghanistan have left, ending 20 years of the country’s military involvement in Afghanistan.
The final contingent of troops were flown out from the field camp in Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country and will arrive the Wunstorf air base in Lower Saxony later on Wednesday.
Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that “a historic chapter’’ was coming to a close.
She said it had been “an intensive deployment that has challenged and shaped the Bundeswehr, in which the Bundeswehr has proven itself in combat.”
Fifty-nine German soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan, 35 of them in attacks or in combat while the mission cost more than 12 billion euros.
Most recently, the core mission of the NATO forces was to train Afghan forces.
All NATO troops were expected to leave by the deadline of Sept. 11, set earlier this year by Washington.
The U.S. has the most troops still in the country. Prior to the withdrawal, Germany had the second-largest contingent.
Some Afghanistan political leaders have criticised the troops’ withdrawal.
“The presence of German Forces was giving moral support to the security forces and the people,’’ said Fawzia Hamidi, a member of the Afghan parliament.
“Now, that they have left, people think that the situation has got so bad that everyone is abandoning us.’’
She told dpa that the Taliban had succeeded in taking control of Kaldar district in Balkh province as German troops departed from their bases.
“The security forces had made some progress in the area, but last night the Taliban took all the territory in the district,’’ she said. (dpa/NAN)