German government agrees to extend military mandate in Afghanistan
The German government has agreed to extend the presence of its troops in Afghanistan beyond the May 01 deadline set in the US-Taliban peace deal but the extension needs to be approved by the lower house of the country’s parliament, Bundestag.
Under the draft agreement, German troops would continue their mandate in Afghanistan until January 31, 2022 – a 10-month extension from the withdrawal deadline previously set until the end of March 2020.
Quoting spokesperson of the German government, Steffen Seiber, the Deutsche Welle reported that the new date “takes account appropriately of the complex situation in Afghanistan and also makes possible the flexibility necessary to be able to react if the volatile security and threat situation” changes in Afghanistan.
According to Seibert, the maximum limit of 1,300 German troops will remain unchanged in the new mandate. With over 1100 troops, Germany has the second-largest number of troops after the United States in Afghanistan under the US-led NATO’s Resolute Support mission.
This comes nearly a week after NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on his Twitter that NATO member states have not made a “final decision” in NATO’s Defense Ministers meeting on their military presence in Afghanistan.
German troops are mostly stationed in northern and north-eastern provinces of Afghanistan providing advice and training support to Afghan defense and security forces.
A total of 54 German troops have been killed since the country’s military presence in Afghanistan.