Berlin, June 30: The last German and Italian troops returned home from Afghanistan to low-key receptions on Wednesday, nearly 20 years after the first soldiers were deployed.
Their withdrawal came after many other European allies pulled out their troops without much ceremony in recent days and weeks, bringing the Western mission in Afghanistan close to an end as the United States’ own withdrawal looms.
While announcements from several countries show that the majority of European troops has now left, there was no update from NATO on how many nations still have troops in its Resolute Support mission.
Germany publicly announced the end of its nearly 20-year deployment in a statement and a series of tweets from the defense minister late Tuesday evening, shortly after the last plane carrying its troops had left Afghan airspace.
Three transport aircraft landed at the Wunstorf air base in northern Germany on Wednesday afternoon. The troops, wearing masks, lined up on the tarmac for a brief ceremony, but the military dispensed with a bigger reception because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)