Germany plans to send more troops to Afghanistan

The decision to raise the troop limit is likely to fuel a debate in Germany, where some opposition parties are critical of the attack and polls show a majority of the population is also sceptical.

Germany plans to send more troops to Afghanistan
Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said on Tuesday that Germany planned to increase the number of troops it can send to Afghanistan by 1,000 later this year.

Germany has been under pressure from NATO partners, particularly the United States, to bolster its troop contingent in Afghanistan and shift soldiers from the north to the more dangerous south to attack Taliban insurgents.

A parliamentary mandate expires in October foresees a maximum of 3,500 German troops in Afghanistan.

Jung said the government wanted the new mandate to run until December 2009, a move that would keep the politically sensitive issue out of next year's election campaign.

The decision to raise the troop limit is likely to fuel a debate in Germany, where some opposition parties are critical of the attack and polls show a majority of the population is also sceptical. Any increase in troop numbers would need approval by the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Roughly 60,000 foreign troops are in Afghanistan, most of them part of the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF), but security has deteriorated in recent years.

Some 6,000 people were killed in 2007, the deadliest year since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in 2001.


Reuters
Last Mod: 24 Haziran 2008, 12:38
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