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Germany Hands Over Afghan Base


German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, pictured here in Herat (file photo)

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, pictured here in Herat (file photo)

Germany has handed over its key military base in northern Afghanistan to local security forces.

The transfer of the base, in the northern province of Kunduz, is part of a gradual pullout of Western forces by the end of next year.

Speaking at the handover ceremony on October 6, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the more than 10-year mission in Kunduz had shaped Germany's armed forces "like hardly any other place." More than 20,000 German troops were deployed in Kunduz.

Most of the 35 German combat deaths in Afghanistan occurred in the province. Another 17 German soldiers died of noncombat injuries.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa
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