Bundestag extends Afghanistan troop mandate

28th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 September 2005, BERLIN - The outgoing German parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to extend the mandate of troops serving in Afghanistan as peacekeepers by one year.

28 September 2005

BERLIN - The outgoing German parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to extend the mandate of troops serving in Afghanistan as peacekeepers by one year.

A total of 535 members voted in favour of keeping German forces in Afghanistan, 14 voted against and four abstained.

"The Afghan mission carries risks ... but we will ensure that Afghanistan's shift from being an incubator of international terrorism is irreversible," said Defence Minister Peter Struck.

A total of 17 German soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001 and 22 have been injured in attacks, Struck said.

Germany currently has 2,250 troops with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan but plans to raise the number of soldiers serving in Kabul and the northern zone of the country to 3,000.

While the composition of Germany's future government remains unclear, Wednesday's vote shows that Berlin's current policy in Afghanistan will be maintained.

Struck has in past weeks underlined that German forces will not get involved in the fight against drug production and the drugs trade. This, he says, is a task for the Afghans and the British who are leading the battle to curb opium production.

ISAF currently has around 12,000 troops operating mainly around Kabul, as well as in the relatively peaceful north and west.

The United States has some 18,000 troops in Afghanistan and has put pressure on ISAF to expand its operations, so that the U.S. forces can be partially withdrawn.

DPA

Subject: German news

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