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    KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): German defence minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, said on Monday that his country does not have any immediate plans to pull troops out of Afghanistan.

    Germany would continue to support and cooperate with the security and reconstruction of Afghanistan, he told reporters in the northern province of Kunduz on Monday.

    Guttenberg, who was accompanied by his wife, Stephanie, and two MPs, came to Afghanistan to meet German soldiers and evaluate the security situation.

    German forces have played an active role in bringing security to Kunduz province.

    On transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces by 2014, he said: "I can't say when our country's troops will start pulling out."

    However, he said Germany fully supported Afghanistan’s desire to do so.

    He also said that any withdrawal would be based on security in Afghanistan and the capability of Afghan security forces.

    There are 4,300 German soldiers in Afghanistan, mostly stationed in the north and northeast of the country.

    So far, 45 soldiers have lost lives due to insurgent attacks.

    The minister said that security in the north and northeast especially in Kunduz had improved and he hoped more progress would be made during coming year.

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