Germany’s last troops left Afghanistan on Tuesday after a nearly 20-year deployment in the country, the defense minister said. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted that the last Bundeswehr soldiers “left Afghanistan safely” Tuesday evening. She thanked the more than 150,000 troops who have served there since 2001 and said that they can be proud of this mission”.
The German military said that the last troops were on their way home via Tbilisi, Georgia, and that Brigadier General Ansgar Meyer, the last commander of the German contingent, was on board an Airbus A400M aircraft bringing them home. NATO agreed in April to withdraw its roughly 7,000 non-American forces from Afghanistan to match US President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from the country starting May 1. At the time, Germany had around 1,100 troops there. Germany’s contingent, which focused on northern Afghanistan, was the second biggest in the current Resolute Support mission after the United States’. Its last bases were in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. The German parliament first approved sending the military to Afghanistan in December 2001, and the first troops arrived in Kabul in January 2002. Fifty-nine German troops died in Afghan missions over the years. Around 750 containers’ worth of equipment has been shipped back to Germany by land and air, including 120 vehicles and six helicopters, the Bundeswehr said.