Germany to decide on Afghan troops by Thurs: Paper

Germany will say how many additional troops it can send to Afghanistan before an international conference on Jan. 28, the defence minister said.

Germany to decide on Afghan troops by Thurs: Paper

Germany will say how many additional troops it can send to Afghanistan before an international conference on the country's future on Jan. 28, the defence minister said.

In an interview to be published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday, Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said the German army would focus more on training Afghan security forces closer to the population.

Before the conference, to be held in London, Guttenberg will produce "a concrete number for a possible increase of the German troop contingent," the paper quoted him as saying.

Chancellor Angel Merkel said on Saturday that Germany will be accelerating its operations to train Afghan security forces in the north of the country, shedding more light over what role the fresh troops may have.

A storm over Germany's presence in Afghanistan erupted in November after a German-ordered air strike near Kunduz killed scores of civilians.

The attack cost the chief of the armed forces and a minister their jobs, sparking a parliamentary inquiry that also threatens Guttenberg.

Germany has consistently said that additional forces it may send would likely have a training mission. A parliamentary mandate currently allows the government to station 4,500 troops, but officials have signalled this ceiling could be raised.

Polls show a majority of Germans want the country's troops pulled out of Afghanistan, but Berlin has been under pressure from the United States and NATO leadership to bolster its presence there.

Merkel meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Berlin on Tuesday.

Reuters
Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2010, 17:42
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