Obama praises Germany's role in Afghanistan
Obama and Angela Merkel were to confer on the current situation in Afghanistan and the scheduled drawdown of US troops, beginning in July, White House officials said on Monday.
"Germany is already a global leader and we are in constant contact to coordinate our efforts. It has some 7,000 troops deployed in different operations around the world, so it is making a significant contribution to international peace and security," Obama said in an interview.
"We especially appreciate its contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, where Germany provides some 5,000 troops, making it the third largest national contingent," he told a Berlin-based daily.
In addition, the US president said, Germany commanded the entire northern region, headed two Provincial Reconstruction Teams and provided the logistical support base for all foreign forces in the area.
"Of course, this mission does not come without sacrifice, and our hearts go out to the families of the more than 50 German soldiers who have given their lives, including several in recent weeks, to help keep our countries safe," Obama added.
Meanwhile, the White House said Obama would be holding his monthly Situation Room meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security ream. The meeting, expected to last about an hour, will discuss the troop drawdown schedule.
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