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German government approve plan to send more troops to Afghanistan

Read: 1445     21:42     07 March 2018    

German government has approved plans to expand Germany’s military missions abroad, including in Afghanistan, a media report said on Wednesday.

Quoting sources in the Iraqi and Mali governments, Reuters reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved plans on Wednesday to expand Germany’s military missions.

The defence bill, which must still be approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, would raise the number of German troops deployed in Afghanistan by a third to 1,300.

It also changes Germany’s military operations in Iraq. After their successful work training Kurdish Peshmerga forces in north, German forces would now also be stationed in Baghdad.

The cabinet’s decision implements an agreement on defence made by Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left SPD during negotiations about a re-run of the ‘grand coalition’ that ruled Germany since 2013.

It also includes a plan to add 100 more troops to Germany’s 1,000-strong deployment to a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali in order to meet increased maintenance needs and Germany’s new responsibility for a military base in Gao.

The decision to increase German military presence in Afghanistan comes against a backdrop of increased violence there and a new peace initiative launched by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told broadcaster ARD the move should be matched with accelerated reforms by Kabul. She warned the mission would likely extend for some time.

“We need patience and a long breath, without question,” von der Leyen told ARD, citing a history of progress and setbacks in Afghanistan in recent years.

She praised the military’s success in training the Peshmerga, adding, “That is moving to a different level now,” von der Leyen said.

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