German SPD wants Afghan troops pullout by 2013: Report

Criticism of an airstrike ordered by German troops in northern Afghanistan earlier this month that killed scores of civilians, has catapulted the issue into the election campaign.

German SPD wants Afghan troops pullout by 2013: Report

Social Democrat (SPD) challenger Frank-Walter Steinmeier has drawn up a plan to withdraw German troops from Afghanistan by 2013, a move that could win votes two weeks before the election, a magazine reported on Sunday.

International and domestic criticism of an airstrike ordered by German troops in northern Afghanistan earlier this month that killed scores of civilians, has catapulted the issue into the election campaign.

The ten-point plan which lays out the conditions for bringing Germany's 4,200 troops home within four years, stresses the importance of having a well-trained Afghan police force, said Der Spiegel.

A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, confirmed Foreign Minister Steinmeier had approved a paper entitled "Ten Steps For Afghanistan" but declined to comment on its contents.

Polls show more than 60 percent of voters want an end to Germany's participation in the NATO occupation.

Conservative Chancellor Merkel has also started talking about a pullout timetable.

"In the next legislative period, it is valid to create the basis for a withdrawal from Afghanistan," Der Spiegel quoted the Steinmeier's paper as saying. "We must set the right course now."

The paper calls for concrete goals to enable a transfer of responsibility for security, and said that by 2011, all districts under German control should have a well-trained police force, said Der Spiegel.


Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Eylül 2009, 08:59
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