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German Afghanistan Mission Expansion Considered

Expansion of German mission in Afghanistan under consideration

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has spoken in favour of an expansion of the Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan beyond Kabul. As Defence Minister Peter Struck had also done previously, on 13 August Schröder advocated linking a commitment beyond Kabul to the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

German Tanks.

The Federal Chancellor said that a decision on this would have to be considered in the United Nations Security Council. However, Schröder also made clear that the linkage with the ISAF mandate was not a condition for German participation.

An additional Bundeswehr investigation team will set off for Afghanistan in the coming week in order to assess whether reconstruction assistance can be provided in the region around the city of Kundus under Bundeswehr protection. An earlier investigation team had already identified two other locations as unsuitable. When the team's report becomes available, a decision will have to be made on "whether what is politically right can be justified in security terms". The Chancellor said that this decision had to be made soon.

He added that the prime concern was the work of reconstruction, so-called nation building: the development of government structures and civil society in Afghanistan. This would have to be accompanied by military protection. You could thus not consider one without the other. He therefore had "the sincere request that the question not always only be seen from the military perspective", said the Federal Chancellor before journalists in Berlin. He explained that democratic stabilization required two things: economic and social development - and security.

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