Germany attacked over Afghan drug trade

30th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 January 2004 , BERLIN - German Defence Minister Peter Struck was to leave Friday on a two-day trip to Afghanistan where he will inspect troops in Kunduz amid criticism of Germany for failing to tackle the illegal drug trade. Struck will visit a German base established in Kunduz four months ago with 210 soldiers and 40 civilian experts to aid rebuilding efforts. The mandate of German troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan runs out in October but Struck said he

30 January 2004

BERLIN - German Defence Minister Peter Struck was to leave Friday on a two-day trip to Afghanistan where he will inspect troops in Kunduz amid criticism of Germany for failing to tackle the illegal drug trade.

Struck will visit a German base established in Kunduz four months ago with 210 soldiers and 40 civilian experts to aid rebuilding efforts.

The mandate of German troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan runs out in October but Struck said he would seek to extend it by a year. This will require approval of parliament.

Struck looks likely to receive a critical welcome in Kunduz from the regional Afghan armed forces commander, Daud Khan.

"Drugs are the biggest problem here and the Germans have up until now done nothing about this," said Khan as quoted in the Financial Times Deutschland, the newspaper's German language edition.

Khan said drugs were far more dangerous than the Taliban because they were the source of the al-Qaeda organisation's funding.

He called on the German troops to destroy opium factories, arrest dealers and seize land being used for poppy production.

The German government, however, has ruled out using its troops to combat illegal drugs and the parliamentary mandate for sending forces to Afghanistan explicitly rules this out.

Khan added: "The four northeastern provinces are the most peaceful in all Afghanistan - we don't need the Germans here for security."

There are about 6,000 ISAF peacekeepers in Afghanistan which are led by the NATO alliance.

In addition, the United States provides the bulk of about 11,000 combat troops in the country still hunting members of the former ruling Taliban and al-Qaeda.

 

 

DPA
Subject: German news

 

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