Saturday, February 25, 2012

German military pulls out of Afghan camp

The German military pulled out early from a camp in Afghanistan, the army said Friday, following a demonstration over the burning of Korans by US troops, dpa reported.

The Talokan camp was being guarded by Afghan troops Friday after the Germans unexpectedly cleared out, officials from both countries confirmed. They had been scheduled to leave by the end of March.

The 50 German personnel withdrew Wednesday, taking their weapons, ammunition and vehicles, after a demonstration outside the camp by 300 people who were protesting the burning of Korans, the army said.

They pulled back to a main German camp in Kunduz, 70 kilometres away, the command in Potsdam, Germany, said.

The governor of Talokan province, Abdul Jabar Takwa, criticized the departure, telling dpa it came without warning.

"We have not entered the camp," he said. Afghan forces had been posted outside it to protect it.

Germany's Military Association, an independent group, praised the move. Chairman Ulrich Kirsch told Hesse state radio that it was wiser for the army to leave than remain exposed to such a situation.

Talokan, which has 200,000 inhabitants, is one of Afghanistan's 10 main cities. The provincial advisory team (PAT) camp is located in the middle of the city, unlike other German camps that are outside built-up areas.

Several people were killed in May during a demonstration outside the camp where petrol bombs and hand grenades were thrown at it. Two German soldiers and four Afghan guards were wounded.



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