Bundestag extends Afghanistan mandate

On 31 January, the German Bundestag extended the mandate for the German armed forces mission in Afghanistan. A total of 435 members of the Bundestag voted in favour of the Government’s motion, with 111 negative votes and 39 abstentions.

Speaking on the margins of the meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle praised the decision, saying that “once again, a broad majority of the German Bundestag has shown support for our soldiers in their difficult mission in Afghanistan.” The new mandate reduces the personnel ceiling of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan from 4,900 to 4,400 soldiers. The Government aims to further reduce the size of the German contingent deployed as a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to 3,300 soldiers by the time the mandate expires on 28 February 2014.

Afghanistan taking over responsibility

As agreed at the Lisbon NATO summit in 2010, Afghan security forces will gradually assume responsibility for their country in the period up until the end of 2014. Even today, they are responsible for the security of 75% of the Afghan population. By mid 2013, the whole country will be in what is known as the transition process.

Minister Westerwelle underscored that “the handover of responsibility for security to Afghanistan and the incremental withdrawal of combat troops will continue as planned in a highly responsible manner and in close cooperation with our partners. We will conclude the ISAF mission by the end of 2014.”

Germany remains involved

Afghan graduates of a military academy

Afghan graduates of a military academy
© picture-alliance/ZUMAPRESS

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Afghan graduates of a military academy

Afghan graduates of a military academy

Afghan graduates of a military academy

Even after responsibility for security has been fully transferred to the Afghans, Germany and the international community will remain involved in Afghanistan by providing advice, training and support for the Afghan security forces. Germany has pledged to make available about 150 million euros annually beginning in 2015 to help finance the Afghan National Security Forces. For Foreign Minister Westerwelle, the message is clear: “We will not abandon Afghanistan after 2014. After our combat troops have withdrawn, stabilization and reconstruction in Afghanistan will remain a key priority for German foreign policy.”

In this process, German engagement will have an increasingly civilian face. Germany will continue to provide up to 430 million euros per year to assist with civilian reconstruction.

Last updated 31.01.2013

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