Merkel to tell Obama Germany has Afghanistan limits

Germany has been under pressure from NATO partners, and the United States in particular, to increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan and move soldiers from the north to south to help fight Taliban fighters.

Merkel to tell Obama Germany has Afghanistan limits
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday she would make clear to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that there were limits to Germany's military engagement in Afghanistan.

Germany has been under pressure from NATO partners, and the United States in particular, to increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan and move soldiers from the north to south to help fight Taliban fighters.

"I will make it clear that Germany is not shirking deeper involvement but also make very clear our limits in the same way as I do with the current president," Merkel said ahead of a meeting with Obama in Berlin on Thursday.

"I will also tell Mr. Obama that there must be a balance between military engagement and the political expectations of the Afghan government," she told a news conference.

Under a parliamentary mandate, Germany can send a maximum of 3,500 troops to Afghanistan. That mandate expires in October and Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung has said Berlin plans to increase the number of troops it can send by 1,000 later this year.

During a trip to Afghanistan, Obama called the situation in the country "precarious and urgent" on Sunday and said Washington should start planning to transfer more troops there from Iraq.

Obama is expected in Berlin on Thursday and Merkel said she would also address issues including climate change, trade and NATO with the presidential candidate.

Reuters
Last Mod: 24 Temmuz 2008, 08:53
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