German president visits Afghanistan | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 21.05.2010
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Germany

German president visits Afghanistan

German President Horst Koehler made an unannounced visit to German troops in northern Afghanistan on Friday to boost morale.

German President Horst Koehler

Koehler made the surprise visit on Friday

German President Horst Koehler made a quick trip to see German troops in Afghanistan on Friday, where he visited a Bundeswehr field base in the northern region of Mazar-i-Sharif.

"I will do everything that I can, so that what you have achieved here will be appreciated in Germany," Koehler told soldiers. "Your mission is tough and dangerous, but it is right and legitimate."

It is the first visit to Afghanistan for Germany's official head of state. Koehler had originally planned to see the troops stationed in the country's northern region last August.

Due to security reasons, Koehler's visit was not announced. He flew in from Uzbekistan, where he had discussions with Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev. Prior to this, he was in China on a five-day state trip with stops in Beijing and Shanghai.

The president's trip focused primarily on showing support for the troops, and Koehler did not take sides in the controversial debate over the Bundeswehr's actual mandate in Afghanistan.

Koehler himself served in the Bundeswehr during the 1960s with a mechanized infantry battalion as part of Germany's mandatory military conscription.

mk/Reuters/dpa
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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