Stabilising Afghanistan in the long term
President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the USA would be stepping up its military engagement in Afghanistan. The German government welcomes this. The common goal is to ensure that no more terrorist attacks originate in Afghanistan, said deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer on Wednesday in Berlin. "The engagement continues to be needed on the way to stabilising the country."
Engagement must be geared to conditions on the ground
Efforts to stabilise Afghanistan must be "of a longer-term and comprehensive nature", she continued. This has long been the agreed stance of the German government. This is also why the Chancellor has repeatedly endeavoured to ensure that the engagement of the international community is geared to the specific conditions on the ground and not to some abstract time schedule that has no direct relation to the situation in the country.
The Afghan government is still called on to further step up its efforts to undertake reforms, said the deputy government spokesperson. And dialogue must be sought with parts of the Taliban – "naturally with the parts of the Taliban that are willing to embrace a peaceful settlement," stressed Ulrike Demmer.
Sigmar Gabriel calls for close coordination
On Tuesday, Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained that it is now important for the Americans and their European partners to discuss "how we are going to work together to make Afghanistan more peaceful and more secure". We expect Washington to coordinate the United States’ activities closely with us Europeans, he said, partly to stem the flow of migrants leaving Afghanistan. "Further migration not only destabilises Afghanistan – it also destabilises Europe," he pointed out.
On Wednesday, Federal Foreign Office spokesperson Martin Schäfer said it was a step in the right direction that President Trump has decided to do what his predecessors did, i.e. "to work side by side with the international community and thus also with us, in order to continue to stabilise Afghanistan further, also in military terms".
Ursula von der Leyen says Afghans need prospects
No changes are planned to Germany’s mission in Afghanistan. There is to be no new mandate and no additional Bundeswehr troops are to be deployed, said Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday when she visited the naval base in the North German town of Eckernförde.
In an interview with the German public broadcaster ZDF the minister said that the common goal must be to achieve stability in Afghanistan. The Afghan government must be in a position to protect its own population and give the people genuine prospects of a better future. People need work and a future if they are to stay in their homeland. "And we must take this path resolutely and with patience, " declared Ursula von der Leyen.