Germany's Merkel visits Afghanistan

Dec. 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM
| License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan Saturday to visit German soldiers deployed in the NATO anti-insurgent mission.

It was Merkel's third visit to visit troops and, as always, it wasn't announced in advance for security reasons, Deutsche Welle reported.

Merkel was accompanied by German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and military Chief of Staff Volker Wieker, the German broadcaster said.

Germany has more than 4,800 troops serving primarily in two camps in northern Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a parliamentary speech Thursday Germany would begin making troop reductions in Afghanistan late next year, CNN reported.

Just prior to Merkel's arrival, military officials said an unidentified 21-year-old German soldier had died in surgery for injuries unrelated to combat.

Germany has lost 45 troops in the Afghanistan mission, 27 of whom died in combat, the report said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Pilot in Taiwan plane crash shut down wrong engine, black boxes show
Small plane crash kills two near Dallas
Russian diplomats slam 'divisive' UN measure on Srebrenica
Customs officials seize stolen Indian statue worth $1M in New York
Talks with NKorea come with conditions, says White House advisor