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Merkel Says 2014 German Pullout From Afghanistan Not Certain


German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Bundeswehr Commandant Erich Pfeffer in front of the memorial to fallen soldiers at the German base in Mazar-e Sharif on March 12.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it is not yet clear whether German troops will actually be withdrawn from Afghanistan by 2014, as is currently planned by NATO-led forces.

Speaking during a visit to German troops in Afghanistan's northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, Merkel said she and others support the 2014 withdrawal schedule but that a withdrawal then was not yet entirely certain.

The chancellor's comments come amid continued violence and instability in many areas of Afghanistan.

The Taliban has threatened revenge after a U.S. soldier killed 16 people on March 11 in a rampage in Kandahar Province.

Merkel expressed shock over the incident, calling it “a dreadful act."

Germany currently has some 5,000 troops serving in Afghanistan with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Merkel last visited Afghanistan in 2010.

With AFP and dpa reporting