German president Joachim Gauck visits Afghanistan
By Sajad - Tue Dec 18 2012, 10:22 am
Gauck landed at Mazar-i-Sharif airport in the country’s north with his partner Daniela Shadt, said the Presidential Office in Berlin.
The president said, when addressing volunteers and security forces, that he had come to “express my appreciation, my appreciation and gratitude.”
“You work here in Afghanistan to empower those who want to create freedom, democracy, and prosperity,” he said.
In a speech to both German and international soldiers at the German headquarters in Mazar-e Sharif, he said he wanted to offer a realistic picture of the situation in the war-torn country, avoiding both scare-mongering and white-washing.
Gauck said people back home heard about wounded or killed soldiers, but not about achievements like school construction and bringing electricity to towns.
German Minister of Defense Thomas de Maizisre also visited Afghanistan last November, which is showing an alleged improvement in the region’s security.
Fifty-one German troops have lost their lives since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001. Thirty-one of them died in combat and attacks, and the rest in accidents.
Berlin has about 5000 troops deployed in the Asian country, a figure only exceeded by Washington and London, and has agreed with the rest of the International Security Assistance Force members to start withdrawing troops in early 2013, concluding its withdrawal in 2014.