German chancellor in surprise visit to Afghanistan

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German chancellor in surprise visit to Afghanistan

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Unannounced and arriving by helicopter, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel,visited Northern Afghanistan to meet with German peacekeeping troops.
Her visit comes two weeks after the killing of a German special forces soldier and the wounding of a second, by insurgents

Merkel told reporters:
“The world will not forget Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international troops.”
However, she went on to stress that, “By training the Afghan security forces we have achieved a great deal. But there are still places, where there is no security at all. We need to deploy German soldiers and of course their Afghan fellow soldiers.”

At the northern Kunduz military base, Angela Merkel and Defence Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, laid a wreath at a memorial wall, etched with the names of the 35 German soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

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