German President Gauck honors fallen Bundeswehr soldiers | News | DW | 19.12.2012
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German President Gauck honors fallen Bundeswehr soldiers

In the third day of his visit to Afghanistan, German President Joachim Gauck has paid tribute to German soldiers who have been killed there. Further plans to visit a military camp had to be scrapped due to weather.

German President Joachim Gauck (2nd R), his partner Daniela Schadt (2nd L), Regional Commander North Major General Erich Pfeffer (R) and Chief of Staff of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr Volker Wieker attend a ceremony commemorating fallen soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) during a visit to the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr in Camp Marmal, near the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif December 19, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

Joachim Gauck Afghanistan Camp Marmal

In a ceremony on Wednesday at a base near Mazar-e-Sharif, Gauck lit a candle in the memorial grove of the German headquarters there to honor the 52 German soldiers who have been killed while serving in Afghanistan. He was accompanied by his partner, Daniela Schadt.

Wednesday marks the final day of Gauck's three-day visit to Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Gauck met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and was received with military honors. In a joint press conference with Gauck, Karzai hailed the handover of security to national forces and the withdrawal of NATO troops.

Germany has contributed the third largest number of troops to NATO's International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan. Currently there are around 4,500 German troops stationed in the country. While German troops are scheduled to withdraw along with the rest of the NATO troops in 2014, Germany has pledged its support to Afghanistan beyond the withdrawal.

mz/hc (dpa, dapd)