On Wednesday, the last German soldiers flew out of Afghanistan. This marked the end of the biggest and longest deployment of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) to date.
At 20 years, it lasted more than three times as long as the Second World War. More than 150,000 German military personnel experienced their first war deployment. Fifty-nine died, thousands more were injured and traumatised. The military costs alone amounted to 12 billion euros.
In its final phase, the withdrawal resembled a desperate scramble. It came after US forces began withdrawing the bulk of their troops well before the 11 September deadline set by President Biden. The last German transport planes left Camp Marmal, their transponders switched off for fear of being shot down by the Taliban.
Observers expect the fundamentalist Islamist movement, which was ousted from power at the beginning of the war, to retake the…