Germany looks to July date for Afghanistan troop withdrawal

The German military is planning a more rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan than previously planned, the Defence Ministry informed parliament said on Wednesday, according to information received by dpa.

Consultations with partners in NATO were underway  that could see Germany’s 1,100 troops pull out by as early as July 4.

The United States, which puts up the largest contingent of the 10,000-strong NATO force, has set its withdrawal date as September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.

A Defence Ministry spokesman told dpa that the countries involved were currently examining the challenges and consequences, adding that July 4 was being considered as the final pullout date.

The final decision lay with NATO, he added.

Defence Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer previously set mid-August as the deadline.

The Defence Ministry spokesman highlighted the logistical challenges, with most of the equipment being returned to Germany by air.

Earlier plans suggested that some equipment could be abandoned in the country, with equipment seen as a security risk destroyed. (dpa/NAN)