Protestant leader calls for Afghan withdrawal

The leader of the German Protestant church Margot Käßmann has called the military operation in Afghanistan "unjustified" and has demanded a complete troop withdrawal.

Protestant leader calls for Afghan withdrawal
Photo: DPA

Chairman of the Protestant Church Council Margot Käßmann condemned the war in Afghanistan as immoral on Thursday and called on the German government to come up with an exit strategy immediately.

“Even by the loosest possible standards of the Protestant Church, this war is unjustifiable. That is why there needs to be an end to the violent conflict as soon as possible,” the Bishop of Hannover Margot Käßmann said in Thursday’s edition of the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.

“German soldiers need to be withdrawn from Afghanistan as soon as possible,” Käßmann said, though she emphasised that the manner of the pullout should not be hasty, but calm and ordered.

She called it “infuriating” that “military methods had once again taken priority” before other methods. “The population will only accept a peaceful new beginning if peaceful methods are used,” she said. Käßmann also called for peace talks with the Taliban.

The bishop defended the use of vicars in the military as support for soldiers. “They are not blessing the war, but providing spiritual companionship for human beings,” she said.

As the head of the umbrella organisation for German Protestants the EKD, Käßmann represents 22 branches of Protestantism in Germany.

Her appeal comes as Germany’s parliament prepares to consider sending another 2,000 troops to Afghanistan, to add to the 4,400 already on the ground. A decision is expected late January.

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