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Merkel questions Afghan pull-out timetable

The Local · 12 Mar 2012, 11:10

Published: 12 Mar 2012 08:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2012 11:10 GMT+01:00

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The point has not yet been reached where Germany can say "we can pull out today," Merkel said as she visited troops stationed in Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of Afghanistan.

"And therefore, I can also not say that we will manage that by 2013/2014. The will is there, we want to do that and we are working towards that," she said.

NATO said in January it was committed to withdrawing its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Tensions were running high in Afghanistan as Merkel arrived following the rampage by the US soldier who killed 16 villagers including women and children in their homes in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar on Sunday.

In a telephone call to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Merkel vowed that everything would be done to investigate what she called "the dreadful act of the US soldier".

She expressed her personal condolences and those of the German people to Karzai for the outrage, DPA cited her spokesman Steffen Seibert as saying.

Merkel also congratulated Karzai for progress made in building up Afghan security forces while he in turn expressed gratitude for Germany's commitment to peace in the country.

She also urged Kabul to push forward the political reconciliation process with armed groups like the Taliban.

The massacre in the Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan added to roiling anti-Western sentiment in the war-ravaged country over the burning of the Koran at a US base in last month.

Germany and several other NATO member states pulled their advisers from Afghan institutions after two members of the international force in Afghanistan were shot dead in violence over the Koran incident.

The Koran burning ignited days of violent anti-US protests in which some 40 people died, plunging relations between foreign forces and their Afghan allies to an all-time low.

Sunday's killing spree came as the United States and Afghanistan pursue difficult talks on securing a strategic pact to govern their partnership once foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.

The proposed accord would likely cover the legal status of any US troops remaining in Afghanistan to help Kabul with intelligence, air power and logistics in the fight against Taliban insurgents.

Merkel last visited Afghanistan in December 2010, to meet German soldiers just before Christmas. On that occasion she described the fighting there for the first time as "war".

Germany is the third biggest supplier of troops to the 130,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) after the United States and Britain.

Story continues below…

It had 4,900 soldiers in Afghanistan as of February 1, but 500 of these are to be withdrawn by 2013 before the planned complete pull-out due by 2014.

The German mission, the first major Bundeswehr deployment outside of Europe since World War II, has been consistently unpopular in the country.

Shortly after her arrival, Merkel paid homage to the more than 50 German soldiers killed in Afghanistan since NATO-led troops first went into the country in 2001.

Merkel had also wanted to visit neighbouring Kundus during her latest visit but had to abandon the idea due to heavy snowfall.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:03 March 12, 2012 by klaus stoiber
Frau Merkel, why are the troops in a country that has nothing to do with Germany? Instead of giving jobs to unemployed germans u waste millions on afghanistan assisting the duet of evil, the USA and Britain? Did u allow those deceased soldiers proper german military honours? Why is the Iron Cross medal for bravery not reintroduced for heroic deeds from german soldiers? This medal has NOTHING to do with Adolf Hitler as it was introduced way before he was even born. German troops must fight German wars
15:36 March 12, 2012 by Englishted
@klaus stoiber

"German troops must fight German wars"

The only German wars since the Franco -Prussian war ,so the "only " German wars are ww1 and ww2 against "the duet of evil, the USA and Britain" and Russia.

Your comments are naive or insulting.
16:09 March 12, 2012 by Major B
Herr Stoibel,

You will not insult my country, the USA. Despite our many problems, thank God for the USA which INSISTED that Germany be united within NATO and look at the great life Germans have in the most popular country on earth. All of this due to the U.S., its reason, the Marshall Plan and an ally that stood with you against the Soviets.

Do some research. The Bundeswher introduced a new Iron Cross for Bravery over a year ago and several German soldiers have received this award.

And although they got off to a slow start, didn't place nearly enough soldiers in Northern Afghanistan, Germany finally started making a good account of itself in battle, when it came. And it did come to them.

But I guess you have been asleep since 1968 and woke up from a Cold War Slumber.

Or maybe you aren't even German at all, are Russian, and your post is a ruse.
17:40 March 12, 2012 by klaus stoiber
@Major B

Germany is NOT united,what rubbish are u on about? What about East Prussia? Parts of Belguim and Netherlands also belong to Germany ! Please, dont insult my knowledge of my history .

That Marshall Plan was something the USA and Britain NEEDED to do, to stop the spread of communism, or did u forget that communism existed?

That new medal u speak about is not an Iron Cross.it is called the Federal Cross of Merit.

I really feel insulted by your stupid and uneducated response to my posting.
18:09 March 12, 2012 by Englishted
@klaus stoiber

Please do tell which parts of Belguim and Netherlands also belong to Germany,and for how long did they belong to Germany ?,

from your attitude to losing the second world war ,the allies didn't go far enough maybe they should have kept bombing until the Russians decided they didn't want any part of it .But no they helped rebuild with the American's Marshall plan.

Britain was impoverished having stopped German twice from European domination ,who know because it looks like it may happen now through economics this time thankfully.
18:27 March 12, 2012 by Major B
@ Herr Stoiber

Ah, here we go, teh witless always resort to belligerence. Your bellicose comments would have been so common 100 years when the Kaiser stupidly threw away your empire. Blame him.

It is so good that we killed off most of your kind from 1942 - 1945 so that the dinosaurs like you that remain, the alligators, can move around in the mud swamps but are nothing more than a nuisance.

We have former confederates with the same attitude and they also dream of days "long gone" that will NEVER come back.

The Four party talks that brought about the unity of Germany in the early 90's were clear. Prussia? Haven't you heard? Erased forever by the allies. Former lands? Well, isn't that why Chancelor Kohl and company had to opt for "unification" instead of "reunification'?

Go ahead with your comments, and bring up old hatreds with your neighbors in this current European economic climate. But, you haven't listened to the Greeks. You would never listen, Gott forbid.

Look at some old news reels with some goose stepping. Maybe that will make you feel better.

And hail to the Chancelor Merkel's and your former defense secretary that finally ushered in an "honorable" cross WORTHY of Germany's contributions since the 1950's and unification.

Except you or course -- who is an embarrassment to MODERN Germany!!!
18:38 March 12, 2012 by klaus stoiber
@Major B,

In case you dont know, because it sounds like you are pretty much brainwashed, Great Britain started the Second World War. All that we wanted were our lands back, that was stolen by the League of Nations (USA, UK,). Great Britain attacked Germany TWICE before the defence force retaliated sparking world war 2. Most of Poland belongs to Germany, as Poland ceased to exist in the late 1700s altogether.

Sadly, most people are brainwashed into believing allied propaganda.
19:59 March 12, 2012 by raandy
@ majorB, sir the best comment I have ever read on the Local, excellent...

@ klaus stoiber, give it up dude you don't make any sense it's all bullsh^t get out while you can , nimrod
20:12 March 12, 2012 by reallybigdog
After all that's happened anyone who believes Germany was set to take on the world has got to be an absolute simpleton! No one country in the world can ever hope to take over the world without the alliance of the Worlds strongest military countries.....ALLIANCE being the caveat option. If you want to know who started WW1 and WW2 just look at what was gained from both which made the way for WW3...Israel! Who's bright idea was it to give away another countries land for the creation of Israel taken with a Bible and a gun (last i heard you needed a land deed) and under what right did they have to do that exactly. Its all about WW3 and it always has been from the out set of WW1. You guys can BS all you like but war is a racket and Germany had nothing to gain by it and the fact remains that its impossible for any one country to take over the world. If you believe that your pretty naive! Its the alliance of countries that runs the world ie Britain/USA with the most corrupt banks in the world based in both countries and Israel who in its infancy as a world nuclear power is already eager to go to war in itself should be enough alone to make every person on earth shudder in disbelief. Yea Germany was set to take on the world blah blah blah it doesn't get any more unimaginative than that. That is what we call very successful propaganda!
20:23 March 12, 2012 by raandy
reall?big dog.

I think that when you say take on the world you really mean take on the world powers. I think it is common knowledge that Germany expected to do just that or Hitler was the worlds biggest dunce. How else could a killing regime like that continue with out the world powers getting involved? It was inevitable.
20:54 March 12, 2012 by reallybigdog

Germany may have wanted to expand or get back land in Europe but thats a pretty big stretch to assume world domination. World domination may have been a future plan but not before first forming an alliance(s) which would be required to complete such a task. Also, the rights of Germans where removed over time and not overnight as we are led to believe which resembles the process very much like whats happening in the US today. The Germans had to be controlled before the government could dictate terms of war much like whats happening in the USA today where war is a result of NATO decisions vs congressional approval. The USA is not the worlds police controlled by NATO but the property of the people of the US controlled by its President and with Congressional approval. . But if controlling your citizens at the point of a Nazi gun was so effective in Germany then chances are it will work in the US as well(hold onto your guns Americans!).

Its funny how propaganda today seems to illustrate that it was all about how Germany wanted to take over the world.

The real issue though was and remains the creation Israel and the very clear evidence of WW3!!
23:49 March 12, 2012 by ChrisRea
It is indeed sad that NATO abandoned its original purpose of a defensive military alliance and that it dragged Germany and other nations to Afghanistan. It is also sad to see so much gratuitous killings from American soldiers.

It is nice from Mrs. Merkel to express her condolences for the deaths caused by that criminal American soldier.
00:40 March 13, 2012 by Major B
@ Herr Stoiber,

Now that you've had a couple of shots of schnapps or perhaps a bier or two and calmed down, let's agree on at least a couple of things.

World War I was as much the fault of the British and French and perhaps even more than Germany's. With a huge German population and not that much pro-British sentiment, it took unrestricted submarine warfare and that darn Zimmerman cable to the Mexicans to push the Americans to declare war. U.S. Congressional investigations after the war showed how the Americans were largely used as chattel by the Allies and the war industry got rich(some things never change). The U.S. wouldn't join the League of Nations and 20 years later the U.S. was determinedly isolationist, even two years after the war in Europe had started. Roosevelt went around Congressional law with lend-lease military equipment to the Brits and might have eventually been impeached had not the Japanese struck Hawaii.

But back to the Article's topic, Germany fulfilled its obligations under NATO by supporting the conflict in Afghanistan. Even though we're all there many years too long, perhaps you can at least agree the Bundeswher has gained some valuable experience and even expertise through sustained operational experience in the Hindu Kush.
08:47 March 13, 2012 by Englishted
@klaus stoiber

"Great Britain started the Second World War"

When some idiot writes this there is no more reason to make comments about it.

Please remember his name "klaus stoiber" so next time you can ignore him from the start.
15:03 March 13, 2012 by Sastry.M
The Gita says that the first result of anger and high emotion, initially effects oneself before abusing others. This is because a calm and peaceful mind can scan many bins of acquired knowledge stored in brain memory cells and allow mind to rational judgement with unperturbed intellect. Emotional adrenaline clamps many autonomous paths as if in a directed super ego control of body in emergency and makes forget one's own rational self. All acts of vehemence expressed as comments or acts of violence, as the irrational American soldier did with prejudiced mind, cover the reality of truth even more with personal forgetful ignorance.

Only the Germans, among all Europeans who explored India, really did their best in study of Indian scriptures inspired by the wisdom of Vedas and Upanishads. There is no point in emotional discussion concerning recent history involving Germany within European continent and the drastic consequences of two world wars, effecting the whole world and blaming Germany so for all the evils largely. The two defeats should prove to Germany that their spirit has not been dampened into hopelessness, but more so encouraged to uphold Truth in surviving all vicissitudes of time sustaining life granted by the Grace of God.

It is no longer necessary now for Germany to prove herself as a peace loving nation followed with military missions abroad under peer pressure of love for democracy. It is better to whip the dust off the sacred Indian books of wisdom and study anew under rising light of Sun illuminating from the East to dispel the darkness sunk within the technological supremacy of the West.
20:38 March 13, 2012 by raandy
Really Big Dog, nobody mentioned world domination ,only Europe Domination, and that is exactly what the final solution was based on , a europe run by Germans.


why in he^^ are you defending the un defendable . I could care less if your American or German but , they were the worst of the worst. Read the Blood Lands , for the latest. or the 3rd Riech or the final days ect ect . Check out the pixes on Nazi Germany holocaust.

Are you a big fan of the jihadist also?
06:54 March 15, 2012 by HerLinder
@major B......the USA does a very fine job of smearing feces upon its own image. There is no need to worry about the comments of those who post negatively about your country! All puffed up and no place to blow, eh, Major B?????
15:37 March 16, 2012 by Major B
@ HerLinder

Not puffed up at all sir. We're alright and glad of the improvements things are being done.

But the article was about your Chancelor indicating 2014 may not be a hard pull out date for the overwhelming number of German forces in Afghanistan. Do you have a position on that?

Alright, just deal with this comment and read between the lines. It is offensive to us when members of a "certain" country say some things because of "history". This is true although we're supposed to be "friends". It is better to make good exports, sell them and just shut up about some topics. Get it? Probably not.

But your comments are most certainly ignorant. The only feces hier is the brain matter between your ears.
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