German troops won’t let a single drop of booze go to waste as they withdraw from Afghanistan.
About 65,000 cans of beer and at least 340 bottles of wine are being shipped back home as German forces exit the country, according to Der Spiegel magazine.
The logistical undertaking stands in stark contrast to the fact that German troops reportedly are leaving some military equipment behind as they exit Afghanistan.
But otherwise, the alcohol almost surely would have been wasted.
German commanders banned drinking at their military base in Mazar-i-Sharif during the final weeks of the Afghan campaign. The ban, German media outlets said, is designed to ensure troops are sober and fully prepared for any potential attacks from Taliban insurgents.
The Taliban threatened to attack U.S., German and NATO forces over the summer, but so far those attacks have not materialized.
Amid the prohibition, the Germany military was left with little choice but to ship the booze back home. It cannot be sold to Afghan forces because of legal and religious restrictions.
Other than the U.S., Germany has the most troops in Afghanistan, according to figures from the NATO Resolute Support Mission. As of February, about 1,300 German service members were stationed in the country.
The U.S. had about 3,500 forces in Afghanistan before President Biden earlier this year ordered a full withdrawal after nearly two decades of war. That withdrawal is scheduled to be completed no later than Sept. 11, though it is on track to be done much earlier.
Nearly 7,500 troops from other nations — including the 1,300 German forces — also are leaving Afghanistan in conjunction with the U.S. exit.
U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the region, said this week that the withdrawal process is more than 50% done. It’s unclear exactly how far along Germany is in the process.