Federal Chancellor praises armed forces’ commitment
A homecoming parade was held in Seedorf in Lower Saxony on Wednesday to honour the paratroop regiment stationed there. Federal Chancellor Merkel and Defence Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer attended the ceremony. The regiment had a leading role in the Federal Armed Forces evacuation mission. As part of the roll-call parade, the Federal Chancellor awarded the Deployment Medal to a representative group of all the troops who were involved in the mission.
The Federal Chancellor praised the troops, saying the Federal Government was proud of them. Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke of “deep respect and heartfelt thanks. Today, all of Germany looks to our soldiers with great recognition and gratitude,” she said.
Gratitude and recognition
Federal Chancellor Merkel’s visit included a face-to-face conversation with troops, in which she thanked them for their commitment in the unprecedented deployment. She expressed her deepest respect for the soldiers’ courage and fortitude after they had risked their lives in a deployment that placed huge physical and psychological demands on them.
Following this, the Federal Chancellor was the guest of honour as part of the ceremonial swearing-in of Paratrooper Regiment recruits in Seedorf, during which she took the opportunity to talk to recruits in person.
Comprehensive evacuation mission
As a consequence of the fall of Kabul to the radical-Islamist Taliban, the Federal Armed Forces undertook a large-scale evacuation mission. A relief force of up to 600 personnel was deployed, including military police, paratroopers, special forces and members of the Luftwaffe.
Members of the 31st Paratrooper Regiment in Seedorf made up the largest proportion of the troops on the mission, which was the largest evacuation mission in Federal Armed Forces history. The deployment took place from 16 to 27 August 2021 in the Afghan capital Kabul. In the airlift local staff and vulnerable people were evacuated from Kabul on 37 Federal Armed Forces flights to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. These flights brought over 5,300 people from more than 45 countries to safety.