As promised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the recent London Conference on Afghanistan, the German cabinet has approved the deployment 850 additional German soldiers to Afghanistan (“The German cabinet approves deployment of an extra 850 soldiers to Afghanistan,” Deutsche-Welle, 9 February 2010). The increase, which still has to be approved by the Bundestag (the lower house of the German parliament) will bring the Bundeswehr’s presence in Afghanistan to 5,350. Despite the increase, Germany remains committed to the step-by-step reduction of its troop presence starting in mid-2011.
The addition of the new troops will be accompanied by a shift in the tasks assigned to the German contingent. Most notably, the number of troops committed to training Afghan security personnel will increase from 280 to 1400.
Germany has also pledged financial support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plan to encourage Taliban fighters to quit the insurgency and reintegrate into civilian life. The Merkel government has promised to contribute 50 million euros to the effort over the next five years.
Photo by ISAF Public Affairs