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Merkel: No German troops in south Afghanistan

DPA/The Local · 10 Mar 2008, 16:51

Published: 10 Mar 2008 16:51 GMT+01:00

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There should be "no uncertainty" that Germany's armed forces will remain in northern Afghanistan, Merkel said at the 41st conference of German military commanders on Monday.

Regarding British and American criticism that Germany is shirking its duty in Afghanistan by staying in the relatively more calm north, Merkel added that countries "shouldn't enter a race for danger."

She said the the main objective in Afghanistan remains helping the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission to achieve political goals in the region.

NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he understands both reluctant German attitudes toward deployments in combat zones and the US demands for more German troops to help bear the burden of fighting the Taliban.

"There can't be a division of labour in which one party fights and the other concentrates on the post-conflict care," Scheffer said. He also said that NATO allies need to decide on the next step collectively.

Story continues below…

Merkel said NATO must broadly enforce the approach of a "coordinated security."

Theoretically the alliance is a community of values, but in "practical reality," it's a military community, Merkel said. She also insured that NATO will remain a "central pillar of German international and security politics."

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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