Germany: Chancellor Merkel on visit to Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Germany says its leader is in Afghanistan to on a surprise visit to the nation's troops serving with NATO's force in a war against Taliban insurgents.

German military spokesman Lt. Col. Marca Schmidl said Chancellor Angela Merkel is on a "short visit" with German troops stationed in the north of the country.

Merkel arrived shortly after sunrise on Friday and is expected to stay just a few hours.

Her visit comes less than two weeks after a German special forces soldier was killed in a firefight with insurgents.

Germany has committed to leaving 800 soldiers in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission ends in 2014. It's the only NATO country to do so.

Germany has about 4,170 troops in Afghanistan, mostly in the north, a relatively calm region.

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