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Germany to appoint Afghanistan envoy

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Germany to appoint Afghanistan envoy
14:10 CET+01:00
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to appoint Germany's ambassador to India, Bernd Mützelburg, as a point man to coordinate strategy with the US in dealing with Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a news report.

The move comes after a request by the new US administration to have a contact person in Germany for its own newly appointed envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, news magazine Der Spiegel reported. Germany becomes the second country after Britain to do that.

The magazine said a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin had confirmed plans to appoint a special Afghanistan envoy but declined to comment on the choice of Mützelburg.

The 65-year-old ambassador to India is said to be a close confidante of Steinmeier. The career diplomat headed the department for foreign and security policy until 2005 in the German chancellery under Steinmeier. Mützelburg is reported to be giving up his diplomatic post in India to take up the new office.

Der Spiegel also reported that Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton Accords, planned to set up an international “contact group” of nations to forge a new political strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc published a policy paper calling for a similar policy in Afghanistan, arguing that the new US administration needed to look for alternatives to an increase in international troops in the country.

Germany is among European nations bracing for demands from the new US administration that they do more in Afghanistan, but the Germans are reluctant to send more troops.

On Saturday, the former UN Afghanistan envoy and Green party member, Tom Koenigs criticised western involvement in Afghanistan, saying countries like Germany needed to send more experts to train police forces in Afghanistan rather than boosting troop numbers.

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