Turkey's Trabzon becomes transfer center for Germans’ Afghan equipments
Trabzon becomes a hub for Germany to transfer its military equipment from Afghanistan. Ankara and Berlin sign the shipment agreement in April 2013. AA photoThe Black Sea province of Trabzon becomes a hub for Germany to transfer its military equipment from Afghanistan. Germans use Antonov planes for the transfer and the number of planes landing at Trabzon Airport varies from two to five every week.
Trabzon becomes a hub for Germany to transfer its military equipment from Afghanistan. Ankara and Berlin sign the shipment agreement in April 2013.
he Black Sea province of Trabzon has become a hub for Germany to transfer its military equipment from Afghanistan, as the war against militants there winds down after 12 years.
Germany has sent troops and military equipment to Afghanistan as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The country, which at one point had more than 5,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, began drawing its forces down about a year ago, and the remaining almost 4,300 combat troops are set to leave the country by the end of 2014 at the latest, when NATO’s current mission in the country expires.
Staff Col. Michael Sinn and Lt. Col. Ulrrich Krauss, the commanders responsible for the transfer of equipment, informed reporters on June 20 about the ongoing process.
1200 vehicles to be transferred to Germany
Stressing the efficient cooperation between military personnel and local authorities, Sinn said the agreement signed between Ankara and Berlin on April 2013 did not cover only the shipment of equipment to the ships but also the classification process, which is being carried out by 130 German troops.
NATO-led forces battling the Taliban militants have recently transferred the security responsibilities to Afghan security forces before the planned withdrawal of most foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
“We will dispatch 1,200 vehicles from Afghanistan to Germany and approximately 4,800 containers will be transferred. Eighty-five percent of the equipment will be dispatched through Trabzon,” Krauss said, while reminding of the fact that there will be no transfer of weapons.
“Weapons and sensitive materials will be transferred directly from Afghanistan to Germany by airline. The weapons systems of vehicles in Trabzon are removed in Afghanistan,” he added.
Trabzon chosen for its proximity to Afghanistan
Germans use Antonov AN-124 type cargo planes for the transfer and the number of planes landing at Trabzon Airport varies from two to five every week. “By 2014 the number will increase to 15,” Krauss said, detailing the procedure. “When a plane lands, the equipment is transferred to the port by Turkish shipping operators. When the number of vehicles that have been checked by the authorities reaches to 200 to 250, a ship comes to take them.”
The commander underlined that the airline dispatch was the most expensive way of transfer and said they chose Trabzon for its proximity to Afghanistan and Turkey’s solid partnership with NATO.
“We also looked into the Georgian cities of Poti and Batumi, but the distance between the airport and the port is a very important parameter for us,” he said.
Along with the United States and the Netherlands, Germany has sent two Patriot missile batteries and up to 400 soldiers to operate them to bolster Turkey’s defense against possible missile attack from neighboring Syria.