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German, Italian troops to stay: ministers

German, Italian troops to stay: ministers

Jun 20, 2013 - 18:45

HERAT CITY (PANinfo-icon): German and Italian defence ministers on Thursday said troops from their countries would remain in Afghanistaninfo-icon beyond 2014.

The two ministers said this at a joint press conference in Herat City, the capital of western Herat province.

Afghan defence minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi was also present.

German defence minister Thomas de Maizière said that the international community wanted a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. He called on the Talibaninfo-icon to endorse Afghanistan’s constitution, cut ties with Al Qaeda and respect human rights.

He said Germany had decided to keep some troops in Afghanistan to assist their Afghan counterparts and the people of Afghanistan beyond 2014, if the Afghans wished so.

His Italian counterpart Mario Mauro made similar pledges, saying troops from his country would continue to play their role of advising and training Afghan forces after 2014.

He said the peace process should be led by the Afghans in order they could decide their fate themselves.

On the gains achieved so far over the past 12 years, Mauro recalled before the NATOinfo-icon mission began, only one million students would go to schools, the number has reached to 8 million now.

“There has been much development in the area of reconstructioninfo-icon. Hundreds of healthinfo-icon centres, hospitals and schools have been built in Afghanistan,” he said.

Mohammadi said the Taliban have been considrabbly weakened and they had lost the director, but their safe havens continued to exist outside Afghanistan’s borders.

He said neighbouring countries continued to support and harbor Taliban leadership. The defence ministers said Afghan forces had the ability to keep security for the whole of the country.



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