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German President Promises Continued Afghan Support

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) speaks with German President Joachim Gauck during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on December 18.
German President Joachim Gauck has assured Afghans of his country's continued support after the scheduled withdrawal of international troops in 2014.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a visit to Kabul on December 18, Gauck also urged further reform.

The German president said democratization must continue, and called in particular for progress on equal rights for women in the country.

He also said urgently needed economic development was only possible if the rule of law and freedom of information were respected.

Gauck's visit was his first official trip to Afghanistan.

He arrived on December 17 in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif and visited the German base where 2,000 of the 4,500 German military personnel in the country are stationed.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters