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Germany

First German Quick Reaction Troops Head to Afghanistan

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung is to see off the first Bundeswehr troops to take command of the Quick Reaction Force in northern Afghanistan on July 1.

German soldiers in Afghanistan

Around 200 German combat troops will be deployed this week

The 200 members of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) are the first German combat troops in Afghanistan. Some 3,500 German soldiers are already involved in the NATO peacekeeping mission in the country's north.

Norway will hand over command of the unit at the beginning of next month.

The QRF will be responsible for helping local Afghan authorities reconstruct the country and providing security. In conflict situations, the soldiers are prepared to act as brokers and engage in combat if necessary. Though the troops will be based in the north, they may assist allies in other regions as well.

Germany has traditionally been hesitant to engage in combat missions and Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government has firmly opposed sending troops to the more volatile south, where fighting has been intense.

At an official send-off ceremony on Tuesday, June 3, Jung will honor the 250,000th Bundeswehr soldier to be sent on a foreign mission.

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