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German Chancellor Merkel visits troops in Afghanistan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday for a troop visit. Together with German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere, Merkel laid a wreath for fallen German soldiers in Afghanistan and attended a memorial ceremony. Merkel's visits comes shortly after a member of Germany's special forces was killed in Afghanistan, the first German soldier to die in the country in almost two years and capping one of the bloodiest weeks for international troops this year. Violence is intensifying across Afghanistan before the planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014, and there is growing concern over how Afghan security forces will manage once they leave. Almost 4,200 German soldiers are still serving in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The latest death brought the number of German soldiers killed in the country to 53.

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