“We will not leave Afghanistan abandoned”
In preparation for the decision on a new mandate for the Bundeswehr military operation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle met his Afghan opposite number Zalmai Rassoul in Berlin on 26 November. Their talks focused on Afghanistan’s progress in taking over responsibility for its own security.
Foreign Ministers Westerwelle and Rassoul in Berlin
Three quarters of the Afghan population now live in areas where Afghan security forces take the lead in providing security. “This shows that Afghanistan is increasingly capable of taking over responsibility for its own security,” Foreign Minister Westerwelle emphasized. The drawdown of international combat forces was therefore proceeding “according to schedule”, he said. The Minister, however, attached great importance to underlining that “we will not leave Afghanistan abandoned after the drawdown of our combat forces.” Both sides wanted to secure a “long-term partnership”, he added. On 16 May, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Hamid Karzai had signed an Agreement in Berlin on the future of cooperation between the two countries.
Renewed Bundeswehr Afghanistan mandate
On 28 November, the German cabinet will discuss the new Afghanistan mandate for the Bundeswehr mission as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). This will then be submitted to the German Bundestag for approval. On 14 November, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière publicly presented key elements of the new mandate, which is to apply from February 2013. They are seeking broad support for the mandate among German MPs.
By early 2014 the German Government intends to reduce the number of German troops in Afghanistan from 4700 to then 3300 soldiers. The ISAF mission is to expire by the end of 2014.
Minister Rassoul thanked Germany for the assistance hitherto provided and renewed his assurance that Afghanistan, thanks to the support of its partners, would be “fully able” to guarantee its own security. This plan has been agreed internationally. But even once full responsibility for security is in Afghan hands, Germany and the international community will remain engaged in Afghanistan by providing the Afghan security forces with advisory services, training and support. Assistance to support civilian reconstruction will also continue. Germany will remain a reliable partner to Afghanistan even beyond 2014. This involvement would increasingly have a “civilian face”, Westerwelle said.
Alongside the draft new mandate, the German Government will also present the latest progress report on 28 November. This annual report to parliament paints a realistic picture of the current situation in Afghanistan. “We don’t want to present an embellished report, but one that realistically describes the situation as it is,” the German Foreign Minister announced. Regular interim reports are published in summer.
Last updated 26.11.2012