German Defense Minister not ruling out more troops to Afghanistan
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said if the security situation worsens drastically in Afghanistan, Germany would not rule out sending in more troops if necessary.
Afghan voice Agency (AVA)_Speaking to Deutsche Welle, she said should the situation deteriorate “we would have to talk about a completely new mandate.”
She told DW however that the current mandate ceiling of 1,300 soldiers should be sufficient for the next few months.
The German defense minister arrived in Afghanistan early Friday morning for an unannounced visit to Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, where the majority of #German_troops are stationed.
Her visit comes after the German government on Wednesday agreed to extend its military mandate in Afghanistan by at least another 10 months.
Germany’s Deutsche Welle reported that the new draft mandate still needs the approval of the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.
The current mandate is set to expire at the end of March.
Under the draft agreed by Chancellor Angela #Merkel’s_Cabinet, German troops would be able to stay in the country until January 31, 2022, Deutsche Welle reported.
During her visit, Kramp-Karrenbauer stated that Afghanistan “urgently needs a settlement between the opposing groups of its society.”
She said German soldiers cannot replace these reconciliation processes, but they were “making an important contribution together with allies, especially in the north of the country,” she said.
“We stand ready to continue to support the peace process. The protection of our soldiers has a very high priority in view of the security situation, and all necessary measures are taken together with our partners,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stated that #Berlin’s_goal remained an orderly withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that no final decision had been made on the future of foreign troops in Afghanistan – despite the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline.
#Stoltenberg acknowledged that the military alliance is facing “many dilemmas” over its continued engagement in the country.
With over 1,100 troops, Germany has the second-largest contingent after the United States in the #NATO’s_Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.