New mandate for Afghanistan

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Foreign deployment of the Federal Armed Forces New mandate for Afghanistan

The Federal Armed Forces is to remain in Afghanistan even after the end of its military deployment there. From January 2015 up to 850 soldiers will take part in the Nato-North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led Resolute Support Mission. This was decided by resolution of the Federal Cabinet.

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Soldiers on patrol with machine guns.

Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) in Afghanistan: Up to 800 soldiers to take part in ISAF follow-up mission.

Photo: Bundeswehr/Kazda

On 31 December 2014 Isaf-International Security Assistance Force will end in Afghanistan and all combat troops will return home. On 1 January 2015 the follow-up mission Resolute Support Mission (RSM) will begin. This mission is to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.

In accordance with the Federal Government resolution, up to 850 soldiers can be deployed for this purpose. The mandate runs until 31 December 2015. The German Bundestag is yet to agree to this.

Afghanistan can count on German support

With its involvement in the RSM-Resolute Support Mission Germany is making it clear that Afghanistan can count on reasonable German support even after the end of Isaf-International Security Assistance Force.

This was stressed by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel during the visit by Pakistan's Prime Minister Sharif in early November. "It is of great interest to us to see things develop positively in Afghanistan. This is why Germany was one of the first countries to promise its continued participation in the "Resolute Support" mission".

Germany is involved in various areas: good governance, peace process, economic and social development, human rights. For instance, working together with the international community, efforts are to be made to reinforce equal rights between men and women and children's rights.

The aim of Germany's civilian and military assistance is to offer the new freely elected Afghan government the opportunity to work more intensively in these areas.

No combat troops

The character of the upcoming RSM-Resolute Support Mission is different to that of the previous mission. In future, the focus will be on training, advising and supporting Afghanistan's national security forces.

The Status of Forces Agreement between Nato-North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Afghanistan was signed by the new Afghan government on 30 September 2014. It forms the basis of further German involvement in Afghanistan. By ratifying this agreement, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has expressed its approval of the Resolute Support Mission. 

In terms of human resources, the Nato-North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission has a total scope of around 12,000 soldiers. In addition to Nato--North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states, a further 14 countries are taking part in this mission as what are known as operational partners. 

"Hub and spoke model"

The mission is characterised by a regional approach. Kabul, the country's capital, is the hub in the "hub and spoke model". The "spokes" are strategically important cities in Afghanistan, including Mazar-e Sharif in the north. Germany will be assuming particular responsibility for this city in its role as a framework nation. This will be based on close links with the Afghan people and our firm resolve to maintain what has already been achieved in nearly thirteen years of deployment in Afghanistan. Around another 20 nations will be operating in Northern Afghanistan alongside Germany. 

RSM-Resolute Support Mission in three phases

The Resolute Support Mission is organised as an operation in three phases.

  • Firstly, the "hub and spoke model" is to be implemented within the headquarters and higher command authorities of the Afghan national security forces in the respective spokes.
  • In a second phase training with the reduced force will be focused on institutions in the Afghan capital.
  • The third phase is to be the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

The operation plan drawn up by Nato-North Atlantic Treaty Organization does not provide a timetable for transitions between the phases. This will depend on each particular local situation.