The German Government is expanding Germany's police training activities in Afghanistan. Today (14 October) the new German police training centre in Mazar-i-Sharif was inaugurated by Ambassador Werner Lauk. Some 1000 police officers a year are to receive basic and further training at the new centre, which is being funded with 2.5 million euro from the Federal Foreign Office budget. The foundation stone for the centre had been laid by the Federal Foreign Minister during his visit to Afghanistan in July.
In connection with the new centre's inauguration, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today (14 October) issued in Berlin the following statement:
"With the inauguration of the new training centre Germany is reaffirming its commitment to train the Afghan security forces. It remains our goal to ensure that responsibility for national security can be handed over to the Afghans as soon as possible.
Anyone who has actually been to Afghanistan knows that for the international community to build a functioning police force there is an enormous task. I have seen at first hand what excellent work our instructors are doing under very difficult circumstances. We will nevertheless need stamina for the long haul. As the new centre makes clear, however, Afghanistan can rely on us to keep our word."
Thanks to the new training centre, the German Government will be able to increase the number of Afghan male and female police officers trained by Germany to some 3000 a year. The training will be provided by some 40-50 German police instructors and experts as well as up to 45 military police seconded from Germany's armed forces. The new training centre is adjacent to Camp Marmal, which serves as a base for Germany's ISAF troops.
Only in September the German Government had offered the EU to double the size of the German contingent serving with EUPOL Afghanistan. In future up to 120 German police officers and experts will be assigned to the mission.
In its new Afghanistan Policy Paper, the German Government underscores its objective of doing yet more to support civilian reconstruction. In 2008 alone, funding for civilian reconstruction will be increased by approximately 70% to 170.7 million euro. Funding for police capacity-building has this year been tripled to almost 36 million euro. Germany has so far contributed over 1.1 billion euro (roughly 1.5 billion US dollars) for civilian reconstruction over the period up to 2010.