• Germany's news in English

Merkel 'wants to extend Afghan mission'

AFP/The Local · 13 Oct 2014, 08:34

Published: 13 Oct 2014 08:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
News weekly Der Spiegel reported that Merkel told a parliamentary committee that she doubted the Afghan army and police would be ready to take over by the time the final German troops are slated to withdraw.
She said the complete withdrawal in 2011 of US troops from Iraq, which is now engulfed in Islamist violence, served as a cautionary tale and wanted to talk to Washington about an extension of the mission beyond 2016, according to a Spiegel source.
Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is scheduled to leave its biggest camp in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, by the end of 2015.
'Serious mistakes'

Meanwhile, Germany's foreign minister said on Sunday that Berlin had made serious mistakes in its military engagement in Afghanistan since 2001 and warned against a hasty withdrawal.

Ahead of the end of US-led NATO combat operations in the war-ravaged country this year, Frank-Walter Steinmeier offered a sobering assessment of the 13-year mission.
"There is a lot to indicate that our biggest mistake was to create expectations that were too high," he wrote in a column for the weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
"We not only wanted to snuff out the security threat that Afghanistan represented but also lead the country at high speed into a future according to our own vision."
He said that despite progress in Afghanistan, the country was still plagued by a thriving drug trade and rampant corruption.
Warlords hold power in several provinces and violence abounds, Steinmeier added, lamenting that the extremist Taliban had been "long been underestimated as a political player".
But he said the deployment should not be seen as a failure, noting that compared to the situation in Syria or Iraq "the results in Afghanistan are fairly respectable".
And he cautioned against "hastily leaving the country, like the Americans did in Vietnam in 1975".
Amid calls for Germany to match its economic might with more military muscle in the world's trouble spots, Steinmeier said there were clear conclusions to be drawn from Afghanistan.
"We must engage more decisively, not only look at military aspects," he said.
"But we also need humility. We must accept sometimes how little can be changed from the outside."
Story continues below…
Steinmeier served as chief of staff to then chancellor Gerhard Schröder when Germany offered the United States "unlimited solidarity" in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
Germany has been the third-largest contributor of troops to NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, behind the United States and Britain.
After the end of combat operations this year, a NATO follow-up mission will take over on January 1st, made up of 9,800 US troops and about 3,000 soldiers from Germany, Italy and other member nations.
The US force will be halved by the end of next year, before being reduced to a normal embassy protection presence by the end of 2016.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd