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German Chancellor Visits Afghanistan


German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan Monday, just days after NATO committed itself to helping fight a growing Taliban insurgency.

Shortly after she visited a German army base in northern Kunduz province, German officials said two rockets were fired at the site. The rockets landed outside the base and there were no injuries. She was not expected to meet with Afghan officials.

Germany has about 3,800 soldiers in Afghanistan, as part of an international force fighting a resurgent Taliban movement. The German government has promised to send 600 more ahead of Afghanistan's elections set to take place in August.

Ms. Merkel's visit comes after U.S. President Barack Obama won backing from NATO last week for his new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite the support, alllies offered only 5,000 additional troops and trainers.

The U.S. special envoy for the region, Richard Holbrooke, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, also visited Afghanistan Monday for talks with senior Afghan officials. Both men are expected to travel to Pakistan later Monday.

Admiral Mullen told reporters Sunday he is convinced that thousands of additional U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan will help stabilize the volatile south, a Taliban stronghold.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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