Germany plans to pull troops out of Afghanistan by July 4

By: AFP      Published: 09:17 PM, 21 Apr, 2021
 Germany plans to pull troops out of Afghanistan by July 4

Germany's defence ministry on Wednesday said it planned to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by early July, after the United States announced plans to pull out by September 11.

"The current thinking... is to shorten the withdrawal period. A withdrawal date of July 4 is being considered," a ministry spokesman told AFP, stressing that the final decision would be made by NATO.

NATO had agreed last week to begin their troop drawdown by May 1.

The 9,600-strong NATO training and support mission, which includes the US troops and depends heavily on Washington's military assets, includes personnel from 36 NATO members and partner countries. 

With 1,100 troops, Germany has the second biggest contingent of soldiers after the United States in the country.

The withdrawal comes despite a deadlock in peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Washington's decision to leave, saying the terror threat had moved elsewhere and resources had to be refocused on challenges like China and the pandemic.