• Germany edition
 
Steinmeier plans to end Afghan ops by 2013
Ready to go home soon? Photo:DPA

Steinmeier plans to end Afghan ops by 2013

Published: 13 Sep 2009 12:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Sep 2009 12:59 GMT+02:00

His ministry released the two-page paper with his permission, according to Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday, outlining the closure of the first army base by 2011 – to replaced by 1,500 new policemen in the Kunduz region.

“In the next legislature period it is about establishing the foundations for withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the paper says. “We have to set the course now.”

Steinmeier’s plan was released just hours before he was due to face Chancellor Angela Merkel in a televised debate on Sunday evening.

He is the chancellor candidate for the Social Democratic Union (SPD) for the national election on September 27, as well as Foreign Minister.

The release is likely to awake suspicions that he is looking for a quick political boost, particularly after it was confirmed that Sunday is the only time Merkel will take part in such a debate.

Steinmeier’s plan says that future reconstruction efforts would require “concrete, binding aims and at the same time effective precautions to monitor their implementation.”

The next conference on Afghanistan, which Merkel wants to schedule for later in the year, must come up with more specific decisions and no longer “be satisfied with vague targets,” the paper says.

The focus should be on building up the Afghan police force so that all 122 districts controlled by Germany in the north of the country have a sufficiently trained police force by 2011, the paper goes on.

In Kunduz, a particularly problematic area, this would mean a further 1,500 police officers.

The first step of the German withdrawal has not only been given a time limit, but also a location – the 500 German soldiers currently on duty in Faizabad will be sent home by 2011 and their base turned into a training centre for security forces and local administration.

Steinmeier’s former boss, ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder, sparked discussion over a potential German withdrawal date early this month, receiving heavy criticism for saying that German troops should be home by 2015 at the latest.

Steinmeier himself rejected Schröder’s suggestion, saying he did not want to set a specific date for German withdrawal. He also said that Schröder's time-frame was too short. Both Steinmeier and party leader Franz Müntefering said the idea of setting a date would be counterproductive on the ground.

But last week German operations in Afghanistan came under heavy international criticism after a German officer called in an airstrike on hijacked petrol tankers which may have resulted in the deaths of many civilians. NATO is currently investigating the incident.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Woodcarving champions - in pictures
Photo: DPA

Woodcarving champions - in pictures

Chainsaws, wood planes and sand paper were out over the weekend in Saxony-Anhalt where more than 30 artists competed in the International Woodcarving Championships. READ  

Hamburg could treat infected Ebola doctor
Liberian health workers in protective clothing bury an Ebola victim in early July. Photo: DPA

Hamburg could treat infected Ebola doctor

A World Health Organisation doctor infected with the deadly Ebola virus while trying to help stop it spreading through West Africa could travel to a Hamburg clinic for treatment. READ  

Germany evacuates embassy in Libya
Black smoke billowing from a storage depot of fuel that was hit by a rocket the night before near the airport in Tripoli on July 28th. Photo: EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI

Germany evacuates embassy in Libya

UPDATE: Germany pulled its embassy staff out of Tripoli on Monday, a day after advising all its citizens currently in Libya to leave the strife-torn country immediately. READ  

Police kill fleeing drug dealer with bad shot
Photo: DPA

Police kill fleeing drug dealer with bad shot

A policeman is being investigated for manslaughter after he shot a fleeing man, wanted on drug charges, in the back of the head. The officer claimed he had aimed for his legs. READ  

Germany's students fail to graduate in time
A German student protests against the Bologna reforms in Mainz in 2010. Photo: DPA

Germany's students fail to graduate in time

Leaked figures show the average student in Germany still takes around four years to complete a bachelor's degree, suggesting controversial reforms to higher education have so far failed to cut down the number of Germany's perpetual students. READ  

Lawmakers earn millions on the side
Bavarian lawmaker Peter Gauweiler made almost €1 million on the side. Photo: DPA

Lawmakers earn millions on the side

A quarter of all politicians in the German Parliament are making additional income on top of their parliamentary salary, a transparency group said on Saturday. Thirteen lawmakers have made more than €100,000 in the last few months. READ  

Schweinsteiger sorry for holiday video
Schweinsteiger has apologized after the video of him on holiday was posted on YouTube. Photo: DPA

Schweinsteiger sorry for holiday video

UPDATE: Germany’s World Cup winning star Bastian Schweinsteiger has apologized after a video emerged of him on YouTube leading a chant insulting Borussia Dortmund supporters and players. READ  

Sale stopped of oldest message in a bottle
Konrad Fischer with his find. Photo: DPA

Sale stopped of oldest message in a bottle

UPDATE: A fisherman who found the world's oldest message in a bottle tossed into the sea in northern Germany has failed in his attempt to sell it on eBay. The auction was stopped at the last minute. READ  

JobTalk Germany
Job seekers frustrated with application wait
Photo: DPA

Job seekers frustrated with application wait

A new YouGov survey shows job seekers in Germany are exasperated with the application process, complaining about poor job adverts and slow responses. Recruiters agree. READ  

Germany's biggest tabloid attacks Islam
Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann said there was no room for such comments in Bild publications but stopped short of an apology. Photo: DPA

Germany's biggest tabloid attacks Islam

Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, was forced to climb down over the weekend after a highly critical and controversial comment piece which attacked Islam as a barrier to integration appeared in its Sunday sister paper. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Sport
Yoga helped Jogi's boys bring World Cup home
Photo: DPA
National
Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Politics
View from Germany: 'Nobody will win in an economic war with Russia'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: Shutterstock
Features
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in German
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,218
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd