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Germany won't abandon Afghanistan: Wulff

Germany won't abandon Afghanistan: Wulff

Oct 16, 2011 - 10:01

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): German President Christian Wulff on Sunday arrived in Afghanistaninfo-icon's capital Kabul on an unannounced visit.

The German embassy in Kabul confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News the arrival of the president, but did not give details of his trip.

On arrival, Wulff said Germany would remain a friend and partner of Afghanistan even after the withdrawal of international troops by the end of 2014. 

"Germany will not abandon Afghanistan," Wulff said on what was the first state visit by a German president in 44 years. The trip was not announced in advance for security reasons.

Scheduled to be welcomed by President Hamid Karzai, the visiting dignitary is to meet representatives of Afghan civil societyinfo-icon involved in human rights, especially womeninfo-icon’s rights.

In a statement, the Presidential Palace said Karzai was due to address a press conference in Kabul, but it did not provide more information. However, sources said Karzai would give a joint news conference with Wulff.

The meeting between the presidents will focus on an international conference on Afghanistan scheduled to be held in Bonn in early December.

Wulff's predecessor Horst Koehler visited German troops in Afghanistan in May 2010, but did not meet Karzai. Koehler resigned shortly afterward due to the controversial comments he made about German military involvement in Afghanistan.

Germany has around 5,000 servicemembers operating under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) in Afghanistan. Most of them are based in the relatively peaceful north. Germany has lost 53 of its soldiers in Afghanistan since their deployment. The troops are due to begin withdrawing at the end of this year.

PAN Monitor/mbg/mud




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