KABUL - German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere visited Mazar-i-Sharif on Sunday to discuss the withdrawal of his country's troops from Afghanistan. "The most important thing of course is to talk with our soldiers to get an idea of how they see the situation on the ground," de Maiziere told reporters. All of Germany's troops are expected to leave the country by the end of 2014.
The withdrawal must not endanger allied troops or leave Afghanistan in the hands of Taliban, he added.
Mr de Maiziere was also expected to meet with US and ISAF officials during his visit.
Germany has more than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan. Most of them are stationed in the north of the country. Germany is the third largest contributor of troops to ISAF after the US and Britain.
The first phase of the Germany's troops will depart from Afghanistan by end of this year but Mr de Maiziere did not provide specific numbers.