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Germany to send troops to western Afghanistan

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Germany to send troops to western Afghanistan
German soldiers in Kunduz. Photo: DPA
17:09 CEST+02:00
German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung has approved a short-term deployment of 45 German soldiers from their base in northern Afghanistan to the west of the country, a ministry spokesman said on Friday.

According to German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the troops will be deployed to stop Afghan insurgents using one of the country's main road to travel from the volatile south to carry out attacks in the west and north.

Jung approved the request from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Thursday, the spokesman said. A further 20 German troops will be on standby to work as part of the MedEvac medical evacuation unit.

This is not the first time German soldiers have taken part in an operation, he added, the last time being in December 2007.

Under the terms of the mandate approved by German lawmakers, the country's 3,200 troops based in the comparatively safe north of Afghanistan can take part in operations elsewhere in the country as long as they are of a limited nature.

Germany has resisted pressure from NATO allies to deploy troops on a permanent basis to the south of the country where US, British and Canadian soldiers are bearing the brunt of a Taliban insurgency.

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