Wednesday June 30th 2021
Return from Afghanistan
US troop withdrawal almost complete
In the end it all happens quickly: the US military ends the chapter in Afghanistan well before the planned date. But that does not have to be the end of the NATO mission, according to officials. The Bundeswehr had previously completely left the country.
According to insiders, the US has withdrawn almost all of its troops from Afghanistan. The US military will have completed the withdrawal in a few days, well before President Joe Biden’s September 11 deadline, US officials said. The withdrawal of troops and equipment does not include the security forces who will remain in the US embassy to protect the diplomats and possibly to secure the airport in Kabul.
The officials spoke of around 650 soldiers in the context. The Pentagon stated that the US withdrawal did not necessarily mean the end of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, but referred to further inquiries to NATO.
The withdrawal of the US-led mission has raised fears that the country could sink into civil war, which extremist group Al Qaeda could use to rebuild and plan new attacks on US and other targets. A January United Nations report stated that there were up to 500 al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and that the Taliban had a close relationship with the Islamist extremist group. The Taliban deny that al Qaeda is present in the country.
Commander in the last machine
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until it was overthrown by US-led troops in 2001 and massively curtailed human rights, especially women’s rights, in the country. Since their ousting from power, they fought against the foreign troops and the government in Kabul.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer during the day. Germany, which had the second largest contingent of troops in Afghanistan after the US, had previously announced that it had completed its withdrawal.
“This is the end of one of the longest deployments of the Bundeswehr, a deployment of which we as the Bundeswehr say: we have fulfilled the tasks that Parliament set us,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer on a visit to New York. First of all, the joy outweighs the fact that the soldiers would come home safe and sound. The mission, which lasted almost 20 years, should be worked through over the summer. The last machine, an Air Force A400M, left Afghan airspace at 9.24 p.m. The German commander Ansgar Meyer was on board.