Code 71035
PublishDate: Sunday, December 22, 201312:19

Germany’s new defense minister makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

De Maiziere during his visit to Afghanistan urged the Afghan government not to wait until elections earlier next year, to sign the bilateral security agreement with Washington.

The new defense minister of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen following an unannounced visit arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday to visit German troops stationed in northern Afghanistan.

Her visit comes five days after she took office as German defense minister, and comes amid talks between Afghan and NATO officials to draw up a framework on cooperation after coalition forces withdrawal from the country.

She arrived on Sunday morning in the northern Afghan headquarters of allied operations, in Mazar-i-Sharif.

This was the second visit by Germany’s defense minister to Afghanistan during the past ten days. Former German defense minister, Thomas de Maiziere visited German troops in northern Afghanistan last week.

De Maiziere during his visit to Afghanistan urged the Afghan government not to wait until elections earlier next year, to sign the bilateral security agreement with Washington.

Germany has deployed around 3400 troops under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan, which are mainly based in northern Afghanistan.

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