German minister in Afghanistan to back mission
Berlin: Germany`s Defence Minister
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday in a
show of support for his country`s military mission there
which, according to a new poll, is increasingly unpopular at
"It is important for me to show the soldiers on the
ground that the political leadership stands behind them,"
Guttenberg said upon arrival in northern Afghanistan,
according to his ministry`s Web site.
Germany has some 4,500 soldiers serving in the
International Security Assistance Force mission, most of them
in northern Afghanistan. It is Guttenberg`s third trip to the
region since he took office in November.
It comes less than two weeks after three German soldiers
died in fighting near Kunduz, a loss that has heated
up the debate in Germany about the military engagement once
labelled as a stabilising mission.
Stern magazine reported today that 62 per cent of 1,004
people polled by the Forsa institute after the soldiers`
deaths said they support bringing the German troops home.
Stern said that is the highest percentage ever on that
question, up from only 34 per cent in September 2005 when
Forsa did a similar poll.
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