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Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan

DPA/The Local · 31 Aug 2015, 08:41

Published: 31 Aug 2015 08:41 GMT+02:00

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Speaking about Germany's commitment to Afghan security at the palace of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Steinmeier said "We remain old friends and our friendship is one which has no end date."

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician arrived in Afghanistan under tight security precautions due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.

After touching down at the airport he was whisked away in a helicopter as the road rout to Ghani's palace was deemed too dangerous. All the while he wore an army helmet and a bullet proof vest.

Steinmeier called on Ghani to restart peace talks with the Taliban which the Afghan president halted after a string of attacks on police and soldiers which has left an estimated 4,000 dead since the start of the year.

Addressing the break-off of talks Steinmeier said that reconciliation was "the only rational route."

Steinmeier's visit to the troubled Asian state comes as the time approaches in which Nato members are set to discuss the prolongation of their military commitment in the country with the current time frame set to run out at the end of the year.

At the end of 2014 Nato soldiers were for the most part withdrawn from active service with the Bundeswehr reducing troop numbers from 5,000 to 800 soldiers.

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As to whether a new 12 month commitment will be made Steinmeier said: "We as Europeans and Americans have always made this decision together. That will also be the case this time.“

Germany has made a substantial financial commitment to Afghanistan since a US-led alliance toppled the Taliban in 2001. Berlin has invested an estimated €4 billion in this period with the yearly sum currently consisting of €430 million per year for civil purposes and €150 million for the build-up of Afghan security forces.

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