The last Bundeswehr soldier left Afghanistan
German soldiers of NATO's Resolute Support mission were airlifted from Camp Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif by the federal air force of the German Ministry of Defense. According to the dpa news agency, members of the Special Forces Command (KSK) were on board and deployed to the north of Afghanistan to ensure the safety of the camp.
"After nearly 20 years of service, the last soldiers of our Bundeswehr left Afghanistan tonight. They are now returning home," Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is currently visiting the United States, said Tuesday.
According to the German Ministry of Defense, since 2001, about 150 thousand Germans have served in Afghanistan, who were stationed in the Hindu Kush, many of whom have been on missions several times. 59 German soldiers were killed in the country, 35 of them died in battles or attacks, the Tagesschau edition specifies.
The deployment in Afghanistan marked a new chapter in the history of the Bundeswehr. It began after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to provide military support to the United States. In January 2002, the first German military arrived in Kabul and on January 14 took part in patrolling the city destroyed by the war. The German contingent was the leading contingent in northern Afghanistan and until recently participated in the Resolute Support NATO training mission. The opposition and the Commissioner of the German Armed Forces, Eva Högl, have repeatedly called on the country's authorities to revise the goals and objectives of the mission in order to better understand progress and failures, and draw conclusions for future military operations.
The US military will complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan in a few days, well in advance of 9/11 – before the deadline set by President Joe Biden. This was reported to Reuters by US officials familiar with the matter. The final departure will be timed to coincide with July 4, US Independence Day. The withdrawal of troops and equipment does not include the security forces that will remain at the US embassy to protect diplomats and possibly to ensure the security of the airport in Kabul. In this context, officials spoke of approximately 650 soldiers.
According to a senior US commander, Afghanistan is at risk of falling into civil war with the withdrawal of the Americans. General Scott Miller said on Tuesday that the country could face "very difficult times" if its leadership fails to unite after the withdrawal of international forces, the BBC reported.
The warning from the commander of the US-led mission in Afghanistan came just days after the UN reported in a report that insurgents have seized more than 50 of the 370 districts since May, surrounding many cities and approaching the Afghan capital. The Taliban group banned in the Russian Federation claims that it has already seized more than 100 regions throughout Afghanistan, which experts associate with the lack of air support for the Afghan forces from the United States.
US-led forces removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in October 2001. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani insists that the country is fully capable of containing the insurgents, but many believe that the withdrawal of troops risks pushing Afghanistan back "into the grip of the Taliban."