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German Chancellor Merkel makes surprise visit to troops in Afghanistan

German Chancellor Merkel makes surprise visit to troops in Afghanistan
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) at International Security Assistance Force meeting on Afghanistan May 21 and Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R). UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, May 10 (UPI) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit Friday to Afghanistan to visit with German peacekeeping troops in Kunduz, officials said.

Merkel's visit, along with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, comes less than a week after a German soldier died in an insurgent attack in northern Afghanistan, Voice of America reported.

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Early Friday, Merkel and de Maiziere visited Mazar-i-Sharif city, then made their way to Kunduz, about 150 miles north of Kabul, Chinese news service Xinhua reported.

There are approximately 4,200 Germans in the NATO International Security Assistance Force, the third-largest international troop deployment in Afghanistan.

Germany will station 600 to 800 soldiers in Afghanistan in the course of two years beginning in 2015 after NATO operations end, de Maiziere said last month.

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