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Bundestag extends Afghanistan mission

The Local · 28 Jan 2011, 12:00

Published: 28 Jan 2011 08:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Jan 2011 12:00 GMT+01:00

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The number of Bundeswehr soldiers will remain unchanged at around 5,000, according to guidelines approved by the German cabinet earlier this month.

"Today marks a real change in the context of the Afghanistan intervention," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told public broadcaster ZDF.

"This means that we want to begin this year to hand over responsibility at regional level and then at the end of the year to start to reduce the presence of the Bundeswehr."

The government has also stated that “handover dividends” in Afghanistan will be “reinvested,” meaning that once troops leave certain areas under Afghan control, they will be relocated to other areas still in need.

The last troops would be scheduled to leave the country completely by 2014.

In total, 419 MPs were in favour, 116 against and 23 abstained.

The plan garnered a broad majority after opposition party the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) signalled their willingness to vote in its favour in mid-January, but the environmentalist Greens have said they wanted a more precise description of the step-by-step withdrawal.

Ahead of the vote some Green party members said they would abstain, while the socialist Left party opposed the measure.

In an interview with daily Die Zeit on Friday, Green party co-leader Claudia Roth said that if countries like the United States could manage a concrete withdrawal plan, so could Germany.

Story continues below…

“That also means being honest about the fact that a military withdrawal does not end responsibility," she told the paper. “We need a peace plan that contains details of civil reconstruction after the withdrawal. So far the long-term perspective has been missing.”

Making up NATO’s third-largest troop contingent in Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr is based mostly in the relatively peaceful north, but the situation has become more dangerous in recent years. Forty-five German soldiers have died there in the last nine years.

DPA/AFP/DAPD/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:57 January 28, 2011 by jbaker
What is in Afganistan that Germany and other Ruling Elite Countries want? Rounding up World Terrorists? The people there are mostly Farmers. Maybe it is that the Mountains are filled with Precious Metals that are being mined under the gise of U.N Troops!
14:44 January 28, 2011 by beeker
There are unexploited minerals and the possibility of oil. Don't forget the Trans Afghan pipeline "TAPI" that needs a stable government and protection when its built. This will transport 27 BCM per year of natural gas from Turkmenistan to India.

To steal lyrics from Country Joe and the Fish

One, two, three, four

What are we fighting for?

Don't ask me I don't give a damn.

Next stop is Afghanistan.
18:28 January 28, 2011 by Beachrider
Be careful with fiction on this. Walking away from Afghanistan in ths 90s led to Taliban domination and the Al-Qaeda homebase. Without doubt, this area is still the homebase for Al-Qaeda.

It certainly is legit to wonder when everyone can go home, though. I certainly want the soldiers all to come home.

Some bloggers suggested that NATO went in because of precious metals in 2001. Clearly, the precious metals were discovered 8 years later. I hope that sprays BS repellant on those claims...
18:36 January 28, 2011 by Frenemy
Suspicions may have existed before, but they have since been confirmed by a certain NGA program...

18:36 January 28, 2011 by Nemo2010
It is not an interest in Afghanistan, per se, that Germany has, but rather keeping the "golden triangle" surrounded -- that area in the Middle East where some 20% of the world's oil is exorted -- Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia. If Germany leaves, China moves in -- as they are already trying to do. This is the reason the bundesweir and navy is in the Mediterranian, off the horn of Africa, in Saudi Arabia, and several other east African countries. Imperial Germany is back.
18:56 January 28, 2011 by HANNIBAL-BARCA
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind

George Orwell
19:26 January 28, 2011 by Frenemy
@Nemo2010: "Imperial Germany is back"??? Are you serious or was that a sarcastic jibe? I mean, forget the obvious misuse of the term "golden triangle", but do you actually read the bullsh!t you type before you hit the "Submit" button?!
00:05 January 29, 2011 by DrGideonPolya
This was a disgraceful Bundestag decision that underscores German complicity in the ongoing Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide (for details simply Google these terms).

As of mid-December 2009 it was estimated from the latest UN Population Division data that in Occupied Afghanistan post-invasion non-violent excess deaths total 3.4 million; post-invasion violent deaths total 1.1 million (assuming expert US-Australian advice that the level of violence has been 4 times lower in the Afghan War than in the Iraq War); post-invasion violent and non-violent avoidable deaths total 4.5 million; and post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 2.4 million (90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violence of the Geneva Convention ­ Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War demand that an Occupier must supply life-sustaining food and medical requisites ¦quot;to the fullest extent of the means available to it¦quot;.

Several years ago US EPA estimated that the statistical value of a human life was Australian$10 million. If we accept that "All men are created equal" then Germany and its US Alliance partners (notably the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Apartheid Australia) are up for a Reparations Bill of A$6.9 million/person x 4.5 million dead Afghans = A$45 trillion = US$45 trillion = US$45 million million.

Greece's sovereign debt is miniscule compared to Germany's War Debt from the ongoing Afghan Genocide.
06:46 January 29, 2011 by c12dat

I saw no mines on the mountains operating under UN soldiers in Afghanistan when I was there. Well unless you are talking about anti-personnel mines, but those are left overs from previous conflicts. Do a little more reading on what the estimation of the mineral deposit in Afghanistan and how difficult it would be to extract those deposit. From what I saw, the majority of the mountains there are filled with rocks, dust and an occasional pieces of goat dung.
13:09 January 29, 2011 by Frenemy
@DrGideonPolya: "All men are created equal"?? That's a foolishly naive assumption. Does anyone actually believe that?

Even if you focus solely on economic worth, some people are inherently worth a lot more to society than others due to the talents/intelligence they were born with or the situation they were born into (eg. goat-herders vs. doctors/teachers)

As for that (seemingly arbitrary) monetary value you ascribe to a human life, many people (prisoners,street bums,etc) are not worth a fraction of that, and are in fact probably COSTING the global economy quite a bit of money every minute they are allowed to continue breathing. (Disclaimer: I am NOT advocating the murder of unproductive members of society)
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