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Germany will not abandon Afghan staff, minister says

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BERLIN, April 18 (Reuters) - Germany will not let down its Afghan staff as the international military mission in the country winds down after nearly two decades of war, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer pledged on Sunday.

"I feel it is Germany's sincere duty to not leave these people without protection now that we will permanently withdraw," the defence ministry in Berlin said on Twitter, quoting extracts from an interview with German news agency DPA.

U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO on Wednesday announced that they would withdraw the roughly 10,000 foreign troops still in Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Germany is the second-largest contingent with about 1,100 troops. read more

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The withdrawals have raised concerns that Afghanistan could erupt into full-scale civil war, providing al Qaeda space in which to rebuild and plan new attacks on U.S. and other targets. read more

The German forces currently employ about 300 Afghans as interpreters and in other jobs, according to the defence ministry in Berlin.

Since 2013 Germany has admitted nearly 800 Afghans at risk in their own country after working for the foreign military, as well as about 2,500 family members.

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold Editing by Douglas Busvine and David Goodman

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