Germany doubles police instructors in Afghanistan

Germany doubles police instructors in Afghanistan
An Afghan police officers stands watch as confiscated drugs burn. Photo: DPA
Germany will double its contribution to an EU police training mission in Afghanistan, the cabinet in Berlin announced on Wednesday.

The EUPOL mission will now have 120 German police officers and civil experts, instead of the 60 currently working there. Experts from 21 countries are taking part in the project, which began in 2007 to help the nation create a sustainable police force.

Germany is the biggest contributor to the mission, which has 180 experts in 14 Afghan provinces.

The EU plans to increase the force to 400 instructors by the time the country’s 2009 elections begin.

The German government is also increasing their police contribution to a new Mazar-e-Sharif training centre in a separate agreement, the cabinet announced. Between 40 and 50 officers will serve at the new facility beginning in October.

Some 24,000 Afghan police have been trained by German police experts since 2002.

The country has also contributed some 3,200 soldiers to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) there. German troops have become a more frequent target for insurgents as violence intensifies in northern Afghanistan. The German parliament plans to vote October 7 on whether to increase and the country’s troop presence by 1,000 to and extend its stay there.