• 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
Court rules against child porn suspect Edathy
Former SPD MP Sebastian Edathy photographed at a press conference in February. Photo: DPA

Court rules against child porn suspect Edathy

The Constitutional Court on Friday rejected an attempt by former Social Democratic (SPD) MP Sebastian Edathy to have evidence against him thrown out in his trial for possession of child pornography. READ  

Student busted in case of misdelivered hash
Photo: DPA

Student busted in case of misdelivered hash

A Bavarian student expecting a cannabis delivery was collared by "Commissioner Fluke" after acting surprised in front of policemen when he saw his letter box was empty. READ  

Security fears block Germany-Israel match
German and Israeli fans cheer in the stands during a friendly in Leipzig in 2012. Photo: DPA

Security fears block Germany-Israel match

A friendly soccer match against Israel marking 50 years of diplomatic ties has been called off amid security concerns and the escalation of the Middle East conflict, the German Football Federation (DFB) said on Friday. READ  

Germany's brain drain is Europe's gain
Inside the terminal at the Frankfurt International Airport. Photo: Shutterstock

Germany's brain drain is Europe's gain

Figures from the European Union show that while many German professionals are able to find work abroad with their well-recognised qualifications, Germany doesn't always extend the same courtesy to foreigners. READ  

S-Bahn arson in support of refugees, group claims
Passengers at Berlin's Ostkreuz station yesterday as information screens relay news of the disruption. Photo: DPA

S-Bahn arson in support of refugees, group claims

A radical left-wing group claimed responsibility on Friday for an arson attack that cut power to several S-Bahn lines and caused transport chaos in Berlin, saying it was intended to awaken people to the plight of refugees. READ  

Pilots' strike over, but disruption continues
Passengers in Hannover check departure boards showing cancelled Germanwings flights. Photo: DPA

Pilots' strike over, but disruption continues

UPDATE: Germanwings pilots have ended their six-hour strike which grounded 116 flights and up to 15,000 passengers of Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings on Friday. READ  

Man narrowly escapes unwelcome drop-in
Emergency services use a crane to lift the fallen crane in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Man narrowly escapes unwelcome drop-in

A Cologne resident was pinned to his bed after a 40-metre construction crane toppled onto his home early on Friday. READ  

'Further sanctions' could hit Russia, says Merkel
Merkel looking grave at Thursday's West Balkan conference in Berlin. Photo: DPA

'Further sanctions' could hit Russia, says Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that European leaders will discuss the worsening Ukraine crisis and possible further sanctions against Russia at a weekend summit. READ  

UK-Germany rivalries live again in Champs League
Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm with fellow World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

UK-Germany rivalries live again in Champs League

The 2014-15 Champions League draw yesterday brought déjà-vu for English and German clubs as old opponents found themselves facing off once again. READ  

German of the Week
Animal activist fights off murder threats
Photo: DPA

Animal activist fights off murder threats

Friedrich Mülln has been dragged through the courts and threatened with murder during his years of animal rights activism. His latest court case was in Munich this week but he tells The Local he has no plans to give up the fight. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,706
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd