Germany: Deliberations underway for early Afghan withdrawal


BERLIN — Discussions are underway among military planners with the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Kabul for a possible withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan as early as July 4, Germany’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

If agreed, the date would move up by more than two months the timeline to bring international troops home.

“The Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul are currently considering whether to shorten the withdrawal period,” Defense Ministry spokesman David Helmbold told reporters in Berlin. “The 4th of July is now being considered as a pullout date. The ministry informed the (German parliament’s) defense committee about this today.”

NATO agreed earlier this month to withdraw its roughly 7,000 non-American forces from Afghanistan to match U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from the country starting on May 1.

Biden has said he wants the process completed by Sept. 11, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has only said the withdrawal was expected to be done “within a few months.”

Germany, which currently has a little more than 1,000 troops participating in the mission there, has said it hopes to complete its part of the withdrawal by mid-August.

The Defense Ministry wouldn’t comment on which country brought up the idea of a full withdrawal by July 4.

“The nations involved are now examining what challenges that would entail and what the consequences would be,” Helmbold said.

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