Main points of the new Afghanistan mandate
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière have now outlined the new Afghanistan mandate in Berlin. As agreed with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, they intend to propose that the German parliament further reduce the number of German soldiers in Afghanistan during the next mandate period.
The Ministers Westerwelle and de Maizière at the Press Conference
The two Ministers’ proposal envisages lowering the size of the Bundeswehr contingent in Afghanistan from 4900 to 4400 soldiers when the new mandate starts in February 2013. The goal is for this number to be reduced even further to 3300 soldiers in the following mandate period. By the end of February 2014 therefore, well over 1000 Bundeswehr soldiers are scheduled to have left Afghanistan. With a view to next year’s political calendar, the mandate will run over a period of 13 months.
The mandate will be introduced in the Federal Cabinet on 28 November. The first reading of the bill in parliament is scheduled for December, and the second and third readings are planned for January 2013, in time before the current mandate expires.
Responsible course of action
German ISAF soldier
© picture alliance / dpa
“We stand by our word and our planning,” Foreign Minister Westerwelle stressed at a joint press conference. “We will seek a broad majority in the Bundestag for this course of action which reflects our responsibility towards our soldiers and towards Afghanistan,” the Minister went on to say. Afghanistan was increasingly capable of looking after its own security, he said. Even today, ISAF-trained Afghan security forces bear responsibility for 75% of the country’s population. By mid-2013, all of Afghanistan will be in the transition phase.
Supporting the political process
“Only a political process will achieve lasting peace,” Westerwelle said. However, this process continued to need military protection and support, he went on to say. Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière, too, stressed that the main points contained in the new mandate were appropriate to the situation, internationally agreed and fitting, as well as politically responsible. Moreover, Germany will continue to provide substantial civilian reconstruction assistance. Westerwelle added that the Federal Government would make available 430 million euros annually for that purpose. Over and above that sum, Germany would provide 150 million euros towards financing the Afghan security forces.
Last updated 14.11.2012