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U.S., German Defense Ministers Visit Afghanistan

(RFE/RL) 22 December 2005 -- The U.S. and German defense ministers are visiting the troops of their respective countries today in Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base, where he said any early withdrawal from Afghanistan or Iraq would lead to new terrorist attacks on Americans at home.

Earlier in Kabul, Rumsfeld said any reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will not weaken the campaign against Taliban fighters and Al-Qaeda terrorists operating in the country.

On 21 December, Rumsfeld said the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would shrink from 19,000 to 16,000 by next summer.

German Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung is on his way to the Afghan capital Kabul to meet with members of the 2,300-strong German contingent there. They are part of a NATO force carrying out security operations in Kabul. The German defense minister will also meet Afghan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for talks.