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May 8, 2021

Afghanistan: Merkel in troop deadline warning

Taliban vow revenge for U.S. soldier’s shooting rampage.

KABUL – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the circumstances are not yet right for her country’s troops to leave Afghanistan in 2014, BBC informs.“I cannot say we will manage this by 2013-2014. The will is there, we want to succeed,” she said during a visit to northern Afghanistan.Speaking in Mazar-e Sharif, she condemned Sunday’s murders of 16 people by a US soldier as a “dreadful deed”. Mrs Merkel gave her condolences in a phone call to President Hamid Karzai.Germany has 4,800 troops in Afghanistan, the third biggest contingent in the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) after the US and the UK. The number is set to be reduced by 400 in 2013, with the remainder withdrawn by the end of 2014, in common with the rest of the NATO-led force.Mrs Merkel congratulated the Afghan president on progress made toward building an Afghan security force but said far greater progress was needed on achieving reconciliation with insurgents before troops were withdrawn.In January, German forces handed over security of the northern province of Badakhshan to Afghan control. But Mrs Merkel’s remarks on Monday appeared to raise doubts about the 2014 deadline for Isaf to leave Afghanistan.In another development, the Afghan Taliban vowed Monday to exact revenge for the killing of 16 civilians, allegedly by an American soldier who went on a house-to-house shooting rampage Sunday in two villages near his base.Afghanistan’s parliament, meanwhile, demanded a public trial for the suspect, who is accused of killing nine children, three women and four men. “We strongly request the government of America to punish this wild act and a have public trial in front of the people of Afghanistan,” lawmakers said in a statement Monday.The Taliban called U.S. forces “sick-minded American savages,” and said in an online statement that the group would mete out punishment for the “barbaric actions.”U.S. President Barack Obama called the killings “tragic and shocking” and offered his condolences to the Afghan people in a phone call to Karzai, the White House said.

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