Foreign Minister Westerwelle believes that the outcome of the survey carried out on behalf of international media on the engagement of ISAF and German troops in Afghanistan shows that the policy of handing over responsibility for security to the Afghans must be vigorously continued and taken forward.
He issued the following statement in Berlin today (6 December):
“Responsibility for security must be gradually handed over to the Afghans and, at the same time, the engagement of the international troops incrementally reduced. This approach, which the German Government has been actively advocating since it took office, has been embraced by President Karzai himself and was adopted at the Afghanistan conferences in Kabul and London. The last NATO summit gave the go-ahead for it to be implemented. We will make every effort to ensure that the hand-over can begin in some regions in 2011. Our aim is to create the conditions which will make it possible in 2012 to reduce the Bundeswehr contingent in Afghanistan for the first time. In 2014 the Afghan army and police force is to take full responsibility for security throughout the country, thus making it unnecessary for us to deploy combat troops in Afghanistan.”