Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger : Top Oppostion figure to be questioned in baby trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call back

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Angela Merkel makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

© FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-05-10

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit to northern Afghanistan on Friday where she inspected her troops less than two weeks after a German special forces soldier was killed and a second wounded, a military spokesman said.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit Friday to northern Afghanistan to visit her troops less than two weeks after insurgents killed a German special forces soldier and wounded a second, a military spokesman said.

Germany is the only NATO nation that has so far committed troops to Afghanistan after the coalition completes its scheduled pullout of combat forces next year. The U.S. is likely to deploy several thousand troops if the Afghan government provides them legal protection.

Merkel flew to the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif after sunrise on Friday. She was expected to stay only a few hours, said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Marco Schmidl. He declined to give further details, citing security concerns. She was travelling with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

On May 4, insurgents firing rockets killed a German soldier and wounded a second in northern Baghlan province. It was the first death of a German special forces soldier in Afghanistan. Considered to be the military’s elite forces, the German special forces soldiers are similar to the U.S. Navy SEALS. They were accompanying an Afghan-led military operation at the time. Since 2002, 35 German soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.

At the northern Kunduz military base, Merkel and the defense minister laid a wreath at a memorial wall, which is etched with the names of the 35 German soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002. The wreath, in honor of Germany’s latest casualty, read only “Task Force 47, Special Forces,” because special forces soldiers remain anonymous even in death.

Merkel said Germany “will keep an eye on the political process moving forward here,” German news agency dpa reported. She emphasized Berlin’s intention to continue its military involvement in Afghanistan after 2014 and encouraged other nations to follow suit. “Of course, the Bundeswehr has shown, across its area here, how international cooperation can work well,” Merkel said.

With more than 4,000 troops deployed in northern Afghanistan, Germany is the third-largest international troop contributor in Afghanistan. Germany has pledged to leave 800 soldiers in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission closes at the end of 2014.

The U.S. is expected to keep about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan as a residual force after 2014, but no final decision has been made.

Germany’s troops would stay until 2017 to provide training, advice and support for Afghanistan’s security forces. They would be stationed in the capital, Kabul, and in Mazar-e-Sharif. After 2017 Germany has said it would be prepared to contribute 200 to 300 troops.

The final decision on Germany’s post-2014 deployment will be made by the next German government following September elections. Polls show Merkel is likely to win a third four-year term. While largely unpopular among Germans, the Afghanistan mission is supported by Germany’s mainstream political parties.

Germany’s offer of troops also requires an invitation from the Afghan government.

At a ceremony in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday, President Hamid Karzai said he wanted each of NATO’s 28 members to negotiate directly with his government about how many soldiers it wants to keep in Afghanistan, where they will be deployed and how the contingents would benefit the country.

Protracted negotiations between the U.S. and Afghanistan over conditions for American troops after 2014 have so far not produced an accord. The U.S. insists on immunity from local prosecution as a condition.

Schmidl said there were no plans for Merkel to meet with Karzai or talk to the Afghan president on the phone.

“It is only a visit of our troops,” he said in a telephone interview.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-05-10

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Three British troops killed in Afghanistan

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    France’s outgoing Afghan envoy slams corruption

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    NATO forces killed in Afghanistan plane crash

    Read more

COMMENT(S)