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Bundestag backs Afghan troop boost amid protest

DDP/DPA/The Local · 26 Feb 2010, 12:40

Published: 26 Feb 2010 09:09 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Feb 2010 12:40 GMT+01:00

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Some 429 parliamentarians voted for the new mandate, while 111 voted against it and 46 abstained.

The vote – a ratification of the plan announced by the government late in January – was overshadowed by the dramatic expulsion of the entire Left party after its MPs held up signs with the names of Afghans who died in a controversial German-ordered air strike near Kunduz.

Though the parliamentary rules should have therefore barred them from the vote as well as the debate, they were readmitted for the vote because of the importance of the issue.

Most of the centre-left opposition Social Democrats' MPs voted for the mandate along with the conservative coalition, while most of the Greens abstained. The Left voted against it.

The new mandate is partly aimed at strengthening Germany’s civil reconstruction help in Afghanistan but it also allows for the increase in troop numbers from the present 4,500 to 5,350. Some 500 extra troops were definitely be sent and a further 350 will be available as a “flexible reserve.”

The Left’s designated party leader Gesine Lötzsch said the party’s defiant move was “an act of remembrance.”

One sign read: “Ali Mohammad, farmer, 35 years old, nine children.”

“For us it is about individual people, not about general chatter,” Lötzsch said.

Bundestag President Norbert Lammert threw The Left’s MPs out of the chamber after they held up signs showing the names of victims of the Kunduz air strike ordered last September by German commander Col. Georg Klein.

At least 140 people were killed in the bombardment of two petrol tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban, and many of the dead were believed to be civilians.

Meanwhile, a Bundeswehr spokesman indicated on Friday the new mandate would likely mean more danger for German soldiers.

Story continues below…

Lieutenant-Colonel Jörg Langer of the Military Command Centre in Potsdam told broadcaster RBB soldiers would spend more time mixing with the Afghan people and less time in more secure field camps – an engagement that will leave them more vulnerable to attacks from Taliban insurgents.

“In future, it will certainly change, that soldiers will actually spend more time outside the field camps so that they can give the people a stronger sense of security,” he said.

Langer said the goal of the new engagement was to build the Afghan people’s trust in the NATO forces.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:23 February 26, 2010 by freechoice
when will the war stop?

if the German government has no money to pay for social securities...

I think it's time to cut down on such destructive activities..
16:40 February 26, 2010 by Bob Morris
If there are destructive activities in Afghanistan, they are those of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and American and NATO presence there is defensive in nature:

I was six blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, saw both buildings struck by the terrorists, and witnessed the collapse of the second building. The terrorists were sent by Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, protected there by the Taliban. I am not prepared to countenance a repeat performance of this murder, which would be the result of withdrawal of our troops before the Taliban and al Qaeda are defeated.
17:01 February 26, 2010 by tollermann
@ freechoice would you be in support of destructive activities if Europe was invaded again, time to read some history books, good place to start would be the Siege of Vienna!
17:28 February 26, 2010 by Eagle1
Left Party = Coward Party

You don't kill cancer by ignoring it. History teaches us that ignorning violent dictators and oppressive regimes eventually leads to a greater disaster. Ask Neville Chamberlain. Here is your choice, Germany: Potentially sacrafice a few lives now or many more later on. You are a Western society. Sooner or later, radical Muslims will come for you. Get them before they get you.
19:04 February 26, 2010 by michael4096
¦quot;For us it is about individual people, not about general chatter,¦quot;
For me its about individuals also and we owe it to the individuals there to leave their country in a better state than we found it. Currently, that isn't true.

To begin with, a government that is elected by free and fair elections would help, even if they're not so western oriented. Installing and propping up a puppet government reinforces their belief that the west says one thing and does another.

So to leave the country in a better state, we will have to start working with the ordinary people and those *they* trust. As much as we hate the idea of dealing with the 'enemy', even 'moderates', if we espouse democracy, we must be seen to live up to our own rhetoric.
03:45 February 27, 2010 by CalBill
The socialists wouldn't vote for more troops if Bin Laden was advancing on Berlin. Of course (after he was victorious) they would call a strike to protest the beheadings and female circumscisions.
03:18 February 28, 2010 by Ich
Thank-You, Germany!

I thought we Americans had screwed around over there far too long to be taken seriously, anymore.

But the fight is deadly serious and Western civilization is in jeopardy.

Nobody is very good at counter-insurgnet warfare, and it is difficult, especially with politicans who start of with the notion that "we'll know victory when we see it".

Victory in Afgahnistan, however, will take generations.

I truly think, that the only thing the Afgahns hold in worse contempt than occupation, is a government of their own.
22:16 March 1, 2010 by Johnny Cash
Has anybody read Afganistans history with regard to Europeans. It would not bring much cheer or trust in me if I was an Afgani. The reason they hit other countries is because the Americans and other nations are over there. Have they attacked Nigeria or Venezula or cuba or tonga or vietnam etc? If the Americans would stop promoting pre emptive war to satisfy their military industrial complex and pull their troops around the world back home they will find the threat goes away. But they always need to provoke a threat through false flag operations to keep the arms industry in business. The US constitution warns against getting involved in foreign adventures but that document is not worth much since Bush and his gang got through with it. Germany should disengage from this uwinnable war and there will be no threat to Germany. They have no business being there. As far as 9/11 goes there is little doubt in my mind that those buildings were brought down by a lot more than two aircraft. For the latest revelation on 9/11 Type "Active Thermite Found in 9/11 Dust" into a yahoo search engine and see what you make of all that.
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