German minister sees joint NATO, U.S. departure from Afghanistan

NATO countries will pull out of Afghanistan together, according to German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer speaking ahead of a NATO meeting in Brussels.

“We go in together, we go out together,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told broadcaster ARD on Wednesday morning.

The statement came a day after Washington revealed a plan to withdraw U.S. troops the largest international contingent in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to make a formal announcement later this Wednesday.

Germany has the second-largest deployment to the conflict-ridden country.

“I stand for an orderly withdrawal. And that’s why I assume that we will decide this today,’’ Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

There are currently about 10,000 soldiers from NATO countries and partner nations in Afghanistan.

They are to support the democratically elected government by training and advising security forces in their fight against Islamist extremists such as the Taliban.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump struck a deal with the Taliban in 2020, agreeing to withdraw all U.S. and international troops from Afghanistan by May 1.

In return, the Taliban vowed to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and enter into intra-Afghan peace talks.

The peace talks have however, faltered leaving the status of international troop’s undecided as the May deadline approached.