German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called off her planned visit to Israel, slated for early next week, citing the situation in Afghanistan and the need to evacuate German military forces before the end of the month.
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Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday he spoke with Merkel, who notified him she will not be able to go ahead with the planned three-day visit, just weeks before she steps down.
Bennett invited Merkel for a visit at a later date. A spokesperson for the German government said "both sides agree that the chancellor's visit will be arranged at a later date."
This meeting was slated to be Merkel's first and likely last official meeting with Bennett as prime minister since he was sworn in in June. The German leader will be stepping down next month after 16 years in power.
She was set to meet with Bennett, President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, among others.
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- Biden to stick with Afghanistan withdrawal deadline
Germany declared their mission in Afghanistan over in June, bringing their deployments to a low-key end nearly 20 years after the first Western soldiers were deployed there.
Since the abrupt fall of the Afghan government and conquest by the Taliban, Germany, along with the United States and other foreign militaries are urgently trying to complete their evacuation of their forces as the danger mounts.
The United States and its allies have evacuated more than 70,000 people, including their citizens, NATO personnel and Afghans at risk, since August 14, the day before the Taliban swept into the capital, Kabul.