Merkel: No troops for southern Afghanistan

13th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 November 2006, Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday again ruled out deploying German troops in volatile southern Afghanistan despite growing pressure from NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. "We have taken over responsibility in the north and have a mandate under which we help in the south during emergencies," said Merkel after talks in Berlin with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. The 2,800 German soldiers in with NATO forces in Afghanistan are being urged to deploy with US, British an

13 November 2006

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday again ruled out deploying German troops in volatile southern Afghanistan despite growing pressure from NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

"We have taken over responsibility in the north and have a mandate under which we help in the south during emergencies," said Merkel after talks in Berlin with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The 2,800 German soldiers in with NATO forces in Afghanistan are being urged to deploy with US, British and Canadian forces which are fighting the Taliban in southern parts of the country.

Merkel said Germany would not change a parliamentary mandate which stipulates its troops remain based in northern Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer renewed calls on Germany and other countries with troops to Afghanistan to allow Alliance commanders deploy them anywhere in the country.

"We must use our forces better in Afghanistan - this means we have to lift restrictions that individual nations have imposed on their troops," said de Hoop Scheffer in a Berliner Zeitung newspaper commentary.

He said the situation in Afghanistan would top the agenda at a NATO summit in Riga, Latvia on November 28 to 29.

About 31,000 NATO troops from 37 countries are serving in Afghanistan's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

DPA

Subject: German news

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