Germany pulls troops early from Afghan outpost

AP News
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Posted: Feb 24, 2012 6:47 AM
Germany pulls troops early from Afghan outpost

Germany says it has withdrawn troops from an outpost in northern Afghanistan amid protests over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base.

Defense Ministry spokesman Stefan Paris said the German military, which handed over security responsibility for the Taloqan area to Afghan authorities on Feb. 15, had originally planned to shut down its base there altogether in late March.

But, he said Friday, the regional commander decided in view of demonstrations in Taloqan and elsewhere in the north _ which led to injuries but no deaths _ that the 50 remaining German soldiers should pull back to a larger base in Kunduz immediately.

Paris says the soldiers already have made the roughly 43-mile (70-kilometer) transfer to Kunduz and have taken most material from the Taloqan outpost with them.

Germany has nearly 4,800 troops in northern Afghanistan.