Merkel on unannounced visit to Afghanistan


German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived Monday in Afghanistan on a previously unannounced visit to troops stationed at Mazar-i-Sharif, a spokesman said.
Merkel had wanted to visit Kunduz but had to give up on the idea due to heavy snowfall, the spokesman added.
The chancellor last visited Afghanistan in December 2010, to meet German soldiers just before Christmas. On that occasion she described the fighting there for the first time as “war”.
Germany, the third supplier of troops in the NATO-led international force ISAF after the United States and the United Kingdom, had 4,900 soldiers in Afghanistan as of February 1.
A complete German troop withdrawal is planned by 2014.