NATO Afghanistan commander cancels Germany visit

19th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

The commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has cancelled a visit to Germany due to disruptions from the volcanic ash cloud, the defence ministry said Monday.

A ministry spokesman said McChrystal, who had originally planned to arrive in Berlin late Sunday, then postponed his stay by 24 hours due to the closure of airspace, had now called off his visit.

A US embassy spokeswoman confirmed the reason for the cancellation and said it was not immediately clear when a new visit might be planned.

McChrystal was to hold talks with Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and advisors to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to press reports, McChrystal wanted to see Berlin commit to making "an important contribution" to a planned US-led offensive against Taliban forces later this year in northern Afghanistan, where Germany's troops are based.

Germany has the third largest contingent in Afghanistan after the United States and Britain. Parliament approved another 850 soldiers in February, following US President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 more.

© 2010 AFP

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