German Defense Minister Makes Christmas Visit to Afghanistan

36870046_303German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has landed in Afghanistan as part of a traditional Christmas visit. The trip rounds off a bad year that has seen security in the war-torn country significantly deteriorate.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen landed Thursday morning at the Mazar-i-Sharif military base in northern Afghanistan, where the majority of German troops are stationed.

The trip marks von der Leyen’s fifth visit to Afghanistan in three years. Since becoming defense minister in 2013, she has made a tradition of visiting troops stationed in the country during the run-up to Christmas.

This visit, however, rounds off a bad year in which Afghanistan’s security has been deteriorating.


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