Germany to extend Afghanistan mission: Sources

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 19:22

Berlin: Germany`s cabinet today agreed to
extend by one year the mandate for its up to 4,500 troops
deployed in its unpopular military mission in Afghanistan,
government sources said.

The extension to the mission, which has seen German
soldiers engaged alongside NATO and US forces in the army`s
heaviest fighting since World War II, must now be approved by
Parliament before the mandate expires in December.

Chancellor Angela Merkel`s new coalition government had
already agreed to extend the mandate in their government
programme drawn up after elections on September 27.

Germany currently has around 4,300 troops in Afghanistan,
based in the relatively peaceful north of the country, which
has become more violent in recent months.

According to the current mandate, the upper limit is
4,500 troops, and this will not be altered in the new version
sent to Parliament, sources said following a two-day
meeting of Merkel`s cabinet outside Berlin.

The German contingent is the third-biggest in a
100,000-strong international force including around 65,000
under NATO command but Berlin has come under pressure from its
allies to send more troops for a counter-insurgency push.

The mission has also become increasingly unpopular at
home with the latest opinion polls showing a majority of
Germans opposed to the presence of troops in the war-torn
nation.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 19:22
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