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Westerwelle wary on Afghan troop rise

DPA/The Local · 21 Dec 2009, 08:49

Published: 21 Dec 2009 08:49 GMT+01:00

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Westerwelle told daily Saarbrücker Zeitung that the upper limit on troop numbers had just been raised from 3,500 to 4,500 and said soldiers were no replacement for civilian reconstruction staff.

And in a sign political opposition to a troop increase is gathering, foreign policy spokesman for the Greens’ parliamentary group, Tom Koenigs, ruled out supporting an increase, saying the Greens in the lower house of the parliament or Bundestag, would not vote for it.

“We need more police in Afghanistan, not more soldiers,” he told the Berliner Zeitung.

His remarks follow comments by the centre-left Social Democrats leader Sigmar Gabriel over the weekend ruling out support for a troop boost. In the past, there has been broad bipartisanship on Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan, with only the socialist Left Party opposing the deployment.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure from the United States and NATO to commit to sending more German troops to Afghanistan. She had said she would make no decision until after the international summit on Afghanistan due to be held next month in London.

However Westerwelle, who is also Vice Chancellor and leader of the Free Democrats, said that if the planned international conference on Afghanistan in January became an effective summit on troop numbers, there was no point in attending it.

He also confirmed Germany was prepared to make a greater contribution to civilian reconstruction, in particular the training of Afghan police.

Westerwelle went on to call for the immediate establishment of a special prosecutor to deal with foreign deployments, increasing the legal certainty for German soldiers posted overseas.

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“We agreed on that in the coalition negotiations and now we should quickly set it up,” he said.

At the moment, the state prosecutor is investigating six soldiers on suspicion of homicide and attempted homicide for the death of a young Afghan and serious injury to two others in an incident at a checkpoint.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:33 December 21, 2009 by Frenemy
yep...that should do the trick. Afghanistan needs more cops to issue speeding tickets to militant religious zealots :-/

("I realize you are late for your raid Mr. Messoud, but you're gonna have to slow down. Its just not safe to be driving 105kph on these roads with RPG-7s and children in the car. I'm giving you a warning this time, but next time you're gonna get a ticket"!!)
04:21 December 22, 2009 by wenddiver
Sounds like we have too many Cops and idiot prosecutors in Afganistan already. Return the six German soldiers to what may be the most important job in the world, protecting the rest of the world from the Taliban. Anybody who objects, draft, give a rifle and drop them off in a country full of suicide bombers and crazies who want to behead them, at some check point in the middle of the night,

The German Army is doing something really important in the world right now. They should be allowed to do it without the interference of pin head politicians.

They are good men, who have been well trained, are doing a super important job bringing Freedom to a people who have never had it, the German Army needs and deserves our support. All Germany can be proud of them.

The political pinheads who put them on trial should be surrendered to the Taliban as soon as possible.
06:36 December 23, 2009 by Thames
These great leaders of Germany all they ever worry about is what the world will think of them. Are they tolerant enough, are they multicultural enough, is the military suffciently non military, a kind of Red Cross with weapons. They send troops to Afganistan to fight a war and now we find that "the immediate establishment of a special prosecutor to deal with foreign deployments, increasing the legal certainty for German soldiers posted overseas." is their most pressing concern. Maybe Herr

Westerwelle should be brought before a special prosecutor for failing to support his troops in time of war.
17:23 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy
We are ALWAYS in a perpetual state of war. From the international level (overt or covert) down to the individual/personal level ("Sex ist eine Schlacht, Liebe ist Krieg")...
17:59 December 31, 2009 by Fredfeldman
Fight the Taliban and Al Queda in Afghanistan and Yemen now or fight them here in Europe later, its our choice. Which choice would you like the govt to make? Westerwelle needs to publicly face up to the task at hand.
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