Ex-German foreign minister urges additional troop deployment across Afghanistan
Posted: 2007/08/20
From: Mathaba

Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called for the additional stationing of German soldiers throughout Afghanistan, the website of the weekly Der Spiegel magazine said Saturday.

Talking to a local television network in the south German state of Hesse, Fischer stressed Germany should not only remain committed militarily in Afghanistan but should widen its military operation into the southern part of the war-inflicted country.

"I support the federal government to extend it (German military mission)," he added.

Fischer also criticized the lax Afghan policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German government does no longer rule out the deployment of more soldiers in Afghanistan, only two days after three German security officials were killed during a bombing near the Afghan capital Kabul.

Speaking with the Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Friday, German deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler confirmed that there are "deliberations in the federal government" to send more military forces to the war-stricken country.

Erler added his country was even open to stationing German forces in the southern part of Afghanistan, as part of its program to train Afghan soldiers.

Berlin has faced intense pressure in recent months from its NATO allies, notably the US, Britain and Canada, to extend its military presence into southern Afghanistan where NATO troops are battling a revitalized Taliban insurgency. Some 3,000 German soldiers are presently based in Afghanistan as part of the 38,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

The Afghanistan military mandate of the German government will expire in fall and could be renewed by that country's parliament.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the German Defense Ministry Bernd Hellstern said that any talks about boosting the troop size in Afghanistan was "premature".

He added that his ministry could "well imagine" the continuation of the Afghanistan mandate, however the parliament is to decide on the military mission in September.
A local German Brigade here is re-roling to a warfighting formation (which I believe until now hasn't happened) in order to take on a more productive stance in Afghanistan...

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