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German mission in Afghanistan extended for a year

German mission in Afghanistan extended for a year

Feb 14, 2019 - 08:42

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Amidst US plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistaninfo-icon, the Angelina Merkel administration has decided to extend German military mission in Afghanistan for another year.

The cabinet’s decision came a day after an internal strategy paper indicated Germany’s readiness to host another peace conference on Afghanistan.

Deutsche Welle reported the Talibaninfo-icon, who have been in talks with US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad US and attended a recent meeting in Moscow, would also be invited to the event.

Germany has about 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan within the framework of NATOinfo-icon's Resolute Support mission, training the local security personnel.

In late December, reports, US President Donald Trump suggested withdrawing half of the US military's 14,000 troops from Afghanistan. The announcement upset US allies, including Germany.

Released on Wednesday, an internal document showed Berlin’s doubts about the prospects of peace in Afghanistan and slammed any potential US withdrawal plans.

Washington was making an effort to find a political solution quickly in order to pave the ground for a military withdrawal, said the strategy paper.

Signed off by Angela Merkel's office, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, the document added: "Should the US withdraw its military engagement significantly, the government will thoroughly reassess its actions in Afghanistan."

But Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul discounted the 11-page dossier, insisting the US had not yet shared any clear withdrawal plans.

He said: "This is not a document about the USA, it's about Afghanistan, our thoughts for a peace process and how we can support it, either militarily, or on a civilian level, or on development cooperation."

About 55 German soldiers lost their lives in the first 13 years of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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