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Disagreements reign over how to end Afghan mission by 2011

DDP/The Local · 17 Jan 2010, 13:47

Published: 17 Jan 2010 13:47 GMT+01:00

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Chancellor Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, head of the Social Democrats and former foreign minister, have agreed to confer closely on the matter in order to secure the broadest parliamentary support possible.

The mandate for the German army to operate in Afghanistan may be altered depending on what the politicians decide.

The SPD has spoken out in favour of withdrawing troops starting in 2011, which is when US forces are due to start leaving. Sigmar Gabriel, SPD chairman, said that until then, Germany should “train more policemen and soldiers, and do it faster than is currently being done.”

He said there was no need to send more troops – in contrast to Andreas Schockenhoff, vice chair of the Christian Social Union parliamentary party, who said, “It is entirely possible that we may need more German soldiers and police in Afghanistan in the short-term.”

But he said this would only be justifiable if it meant that Germany could withdraw sooner as a result.

The German police union said over the weekend it was no longer certain the police training mission in Afghanistan was helping.

“We are training fighters for the Taliban,” said Rainer Wendt, head of the union. “We are worried that many of the Afghan police candidates do not take up police duty after their training, but go direct to the Taliban. They pay twice as much.”

Story continues below…

An international conference on Afghanistan will take place in London on January 28, in order to discuss future tactics and possible withdrawal of troops.

Chairman of the parliamentary foreign committee, Ruprecht Polenz, announced last week that the annual budget for development aid to Afghanistan had been increased from €125 million to €250 and that the number of police trainers would be doubled to 200.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:35 January 18, 2010 by mixxim
If they put the cone (hanging on the tank) in the centre of Kabul and tell the Taliban they must not pass it the problem is solved. Oh I forgot the Germans must also have some petrol tankers parked nearby with keys in the ignition for the Taliban to take.
16:17 January 18, 2010 by Henckel
The politicians always make the decisions, no matter how insane they appear to be to the troops on the ground. It would be best for all concerned for the US, Bundeswehr, and other NATO troops to be pulled out of Afghanistan and let the Afghans fight it out among themselves.
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