Germany has completed its troop pull-out from Afghanistan, started in May ending a nearly 20-year deployment there alongside US and other international forces. Germany stepped up its pull-out after U.S. President Joe Biden announced he was pulling US troops out of the country after 20 years there. In April, Germany’s defence Ministry had announced it planned to pull out its troops by early July. Biden aims to have US troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the devastating Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States.
Before the pull-out began, Germany still had 1,100 soldiers operating as part of the 9,600-strong NATO training and support mission — second only to the US military presence. Britain, Italy and Turkey also have a significant military presence there, the five countries between supplying 6,000 members of the mission, called Resolute Support. The Defence 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. 59 German soldiers have been killed since 2001 in the course of their service in Afghanistan.
The last of the troops were airlifted out of their base at Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan on two German A400 Ms and two US C17s. It was the longest, most expensive and the bloodiest German deployment since WWII. According to UN data, the Afghanistan conflict claimed the lives of over 39,000 civilians since 2009. While most of them have been killed by the Taliban, international forces also caused civilian causalities, especially through air strikes. The US also lost 2,442 soldiers since the mission started.
Nach 20 Jahren haben heute Nacht die letzten Soldatinnen und Soldaten unserer Bundeswehr #Afghanistan verlassen. Sie sind nun auf dem Weg nach Hause. Damit geht ein historisches Kapitel zu Ende – ein intensiver Einsatz, der uns gefordert und geprägt hat. Ministerin @akk: pic.twitter.com/Z2ynBsL4yj
— Verteidigungsministerium (@BMVg_Bundeswehr) June 29, 2021