Germany's Protestants say Afghanistan war unjustice, call for pullout

The head of Germany's Protestant churches described the war in Afghanistan as unjust and called for a pullout of the 4,400 German troops.

Germany's Protestants say Afghanistan war unjustice, call for pullout

The head of Germany's Protestant churches described the war in Afghanistan on Thursday as unjust and called for a pullout of the 4,400 German troops taking part in the NATO-led invasion.

The comments by Margot Kaessmann, head of the EKD -- an umbrella group for 22 Churches that encompass Germany's 25 million Protestants -- added to growing political momentum against a troop increase which Berlin is considering.

"There is no just war. I cannot legitimise it from a Christian point of view," Kaessmann said in an interview in the Berliner Zeitung daily.

In a message appearing in other newspapers and on television, Kaessmann said she felt that even according to theories of just war, Afghanistan could not be justified.

"All that should be asked is how to conduct an orderly withdrawal and come up with a civilian solution," said Kaessmann, who is also the Lutheran bishop of Hanover and the first woman to head the EKD.

Germany is the third-largest force contributor in Afghanistan after the United States and Britain. Parliament, which has the final say on troop levels, has until now authorised a maximum level of 4,500 troops.

Washington wants NATO allies to send at least 5,000 more soldiers. However, polls show the German public oppose the presence of the troops and would like to see them withdrawn in the next few years.

Germany's biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats (SPD), opposes sending additional soldiers, and heavyweights within Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government have also expressed doubts about a troop boost.

The government says it will not decide on troop levels until after an Afghanistan conference on Jan. 28 in London.

Reuters
Last Mod: 25 Aralık 2009, 17:10
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