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Germans oppose troops in Afghanistan

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Germans oppose troops in Afghanistan
Photo: DPA
12:03 CET+01:00
A majority of Germans oppose their nation's continuing military engagement in Afghanistan, according to a new poll released on Wednesday.

Some 58 percent of the 1,004 people surveyed by pollster Forsa for the April edition of Cicero magazine said German troops should no longer participate in the NATO mission in the country.

An overwhelming 69 percent in the formerly communist eastern part of Germany were against the military engagement, whereas 56 percent in the western half of the country were.

That geographic result was mirrored in the breakdown of political preferences in the poll.

Seventy-six percent of the supporters of the hard-line socialist party The Left, which is particular strong in eastern Germany, rejected the Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan.

Some 62 percent of centre-left Social Democrats wanted to end the deployment and around 50 percent of the pro-business Free Democrats did. Only 48 percent of the conservative Christian Democrats were against the mission.

The supporters of the environmentalist Greens party were alone in backing a continuing German military presence in Afghanistan – 50 percent supported the deployment and 44 percent were against it.

The mission, Germany's first major overseas military operation since World War II, has always been highly unpopular. Thirty-one German troops have died in Afghanistan since 2002, including 14 during attacks.

The German contingent, which parliament voted last year to increase to 4,500, is part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The soldiers are based in the relatively peaceful north of Afghanistan.

A 60th anniversary summit of the NATO military alliance on April 3-4 in Strasbourg, France and the German town of Baden-Baden is expected to see US President Barack Obama press his allies - Germany included - to do more.

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