German troops to remain in Afghanistan

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Bundeswehr foreign mission German troops to remain in Afghanistan

The Bundeswehr is to carry on advising, supporting and training Afghan security forces in future. There will be a ceiling of 980 on the troops that will be made available. The Cabinet has extended the mandate for the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission by another year. This must still be approved by the German Bundestag.

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German soldier with a Resolute Support Mission badge

Up to 980 German soldiers will be deployed as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan

Photo: Bundeswehr/Schachel

The Bundeswehr is to continue its deployment in Afghanistan. Up to 980 German soldiers will advise, support and train the Afghan security forces as part of the NATO Resolute Support Mission. They will primarily be involved in training local security forces in Kabul. In Mazar-e-Sharif they operate the military section of the airport. The mandate, which must still be approved by the German Bundestag, will run until 31 December 2017.

The mission is based on the resolution taken by the North Atlantic Council on 2 December 2014 within the framework of and compliant with the rules of mutual collective security as laid out in article 24, paragraph 2 of the German Basic Law or constitution.

Support mission – not a combat mission

The North Atlantic Council recently stressed that Resolute Support is not a combat mission. NATO soldiers are not involved in any combat activities of the Afghan security forces. Neither is the Resolute Support Mission directly involved in combating terrorism or drug cultivation and trafficking.

Resolute Support is intended to enable Afghan security forces to assume full responsibility for stable and secure structures in Afghanistan. Progress can be seen on the part of the Afghan security forces, but they still need the support of the international community.

The heads of state and government of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) agreed at their summit in Warsaw in July 2016 to continue Resolute Support beyond 2016, in order to consolidate achievements in the security sector.

Civilian and military assistance

The international community has agreed to continue both military and civilian engagement for Afghanistan with a view to rebuilding the country and building lasting peace in the region. It is important to improve Afghan governance and foster economic growth.

This will allow sustainable development to emerge and provide better protection for the rights of all Afghan citizens, especially women and girls. The stabilisation of Afghanistan will only be possible if the political actors in Afghanistan live up to their responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing and protection of the people of their country, over and above the military support.

Germany will provide up to 430 million euros for civilian reconstruction in Afghanistan in the coming year.

Conditions on the Afghan government

At the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan held in early October 2016 the international community demonstrated its support for stabilising and developing Afghanistan. Together they pledged a total of up to 15.2 billion US dollars for civilian reconstruction over the period 2017 to 2020. The German government declared that it would continue to provide civilian support worth up to 1.7 billion euros for the period up to 2020.

The support of the international community is tied to expectations of the Afghan government. It has undertaken to realise political reforms in the country. And significant progress is to be made on human rights and on anti-corruption measures.

Speaking during the Afghanistan conference, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained that it is important to improve conditions in the country so that young Afghans see prospects for themselves in their own country and do not see themselves forced to leave it.