• 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

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has released a ten-point plan to take Germany’s troops out of Afghanistan, setting what has been described as the surprisingly optimistic target of 2013 for the end of German operations there.

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
Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal
Ingolf Deubel in court on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal

A former state finance minister was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, having been found guilty of embezzling money in the scandal around the failed sale of the Nürburgring Formula One race track. READ () »

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment
A Bavarian worker works hard Photo: DPA

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment

Southern and central Bavaria have the lowest unemployment in the EU, according to figures released on Tuesday, with one business leader boasting the area has “de facto full employment”. READ () »

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare
Uli Hoeneß was jailed last month for tax evasion. Photo: DPA

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare

The number of German tax evaders who have self-declared to avoid prosecution trebled in the first quarter of 2014, figures published on Wednesday showed, with the rise put down to the "Uli Hoeneß effect". READ () »

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks
One of the WWII Russian tanks near the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks

The German government rejected on Wednesday a call by two newspapers to remove Russian tanks from a World War II memorial in central Berlin in protest against spiralling tensions in Ukraine. READ () »

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail
A Ukrainian policeman at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday that scheduled four-way talks on the Ukraine crisis must not fail, warning of "the threat of more dead and injured". READ () »

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station
Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Photo: DPA

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station

Berlin's Olympic stadium could become the world's biggest polling station if the Turkish community gets the go-ahead to vote there in Turkey’s general elections. READ () »

The Local List
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: DPA

Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German

From rolling wheels filled with burning hay down a hill, to waiting for a fox to bring eggs, The Local List this week looks at the nine best German Easter traditions. READ () »

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test
Horse? Photo: DPA

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test

Schoolchildren in western Germany came across horse meat while testing doner kebabs in a biology experiment. It comes a year after the horse meat scandal which showed much meat on sale in Europe had been mislabelled. READ () »

Private health insurance not worth it for workers
Photo: DPA

Private health insurance not worth it for workers

Thousands of employees paying into private health insurance in Germany get poor value for money, according to consumer experts - who recommend going private for just one group of workers. READ () »

'Free range' chicken farmer tricks customers
Free range? Photo: DPA

'Free range' chicken farmer tricks customers

UPDATE: A major producer of ethically certifified meat has admitted to defrauding thousands of customers for years by passing off conventional chicken as free range. But the brand said it took swift action to deal with the case. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Advertisement:
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully 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
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

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

3,115
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd