German troops close 2 bases in northern Afghanistan
By Sadaf Shinwari - Sat Dec 01, 10:18 am
The officials further added, the two bases located in northern Baghlan and Kunduz provinces of Afghanistan will be closed in coordination with with NATO steps to complete the handover of security responsibility to Afghan forces.
The first facility to be closed will be Observation Point North in Baghlan province and later the operations center in Kunduz, the German Defense Ministry announced on Friday in Berlin.
According to German Defense Ministry, the security situation in northern Afghanistan improved in 2012 owing to the increased capabilities of Afghan security forces.
The vast majority of German soldiers in Afghanistan are stationed in the north of the country. On Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet approved a new mandate to reduce troop levels from the current 4,600 to 3,300 by February 2014, Deutsche Welle reported.
Germany is the third largest troops contributor contributor following United States and United Kingdom in Afghanitan. he new mandate to close the bases has not yet been agreed on in the German parliament, but the first reading is scheduled for December.
Kunduz is the Bundeswehr’s second largest base, and the most dangerous, in Afghanistan; about 1,100 soldiers are currently stationed there. Fifteen German soldiers have been killed in attacks and raids in Kunduz – more than in any other region of Afghanistan.
By the end of 2014, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan will end, and Afghan forces will assume full responsibility for security in the country. ISAF forces, including Bundeswehr soldiers, are likely to stay on after the end of the combat mission to help train domestic security forces.