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Berlin hails 'turning point' in Afghan war

The Local · 15 Dec 2011, 16:15

Published: 15 Dec 2011 16:15 GMT+01:00

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Under the government's plans, beginning in February there would be a cap of 4,900 on the number of German troops allowed to be stationed in Afghanistan, a decrease from the current authorised strength of 5,350.

“Nothing is easy in Afghanistan,” Westerwelle said in a speech to parliament. “There will be no military solution, but rather only a political one.”

Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière told the Bundestag that the government hopes to reduce the limit further to 4,400 during the course of the year, though that depends on security circumstances and US withdrawal plans, to be decided in April 2012. Around 5,000 troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan.

The Bundestag is expected to vote on the mission extension in January, though a victory for the government is all but assured since the main opposition party, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), has already signalled its support.

But the reduction in the troop cap – the first since Germany’s Afghanistan mission began in 2001 – was not enough to win the support of the rest of the opposition. The Left and the Green parties, who both oppose the war, said they would vote against it.

All three opposition parties, including the SPD, questioned Westerwelle's description of the war as having reached a "turning point."

SPD foreign policy spokesman Gernot Erler admitted that the security situation in Afghanistan was improving, and the first stage of the transfer of power to Afghan forces “seems to be successful.”

But he said one could only talk of a turning point once the Afghan government had taken more decisive action against corruption and the drug trade.

Story continues below…

The government estimates the cost of the war for the twelve-month mandate – which would run from February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013 – will total €1.06 billion.

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:46 December 16, 2011 by Sastry.M
"The tuning point" is the 'break point' between the U.S and Pakistan of the common platform of cooperation on fight against Terrorism, pot holed by recent NATO bombing on Pak boarder post. The last para of this article typifies the cost to German exchequer for supporting an ambitious military campaign of unimpressed definition.

The complexity of Afghan ground realities do not readily admit to gun wielding solutions, but may yield to protracted deliberations of pen scribed minutes seeking a viable political consensus, in essence as admitted by Herr Westerwelle.

The question of cost posed by the last paragraph,even if assumed as a bit exaggerated, does not justify the German yielding to Western peer pressure in the Afghan involvement. Even the two lost wars of last century had never seen direct German military involvement for any strategic gain in Afghanistan.Hence one cannot justify this present cost expenditure in view of German concern to Euro bail out debacles within home EU community.

Regarding the pious cooperation between Pakistan and the U.S in fighting out Terrorism, initiated by GW.Bush and extended by Pak military establishment, one is reminded of the natural consequence, which was described with an unfailing wisdom by Wilhelm Busch, the great cartoonist-humanist as:

"Boesewicht mit Boesewicht" auf die Daur geht's nicht!
16:31 December 16, 2011 by storymann
This is a black hole which uselessly sacrifices human lives.

10,000 troops or 4900 troops, makes no difference in the inevitable outcome. The best policy would be to bring all the foreign troops out of this waste land and let the Taliban have it.
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