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Germany To Expand Military Role In Afghanistan


Security cabinet for expansion of Afghanistan mission

Germany's security cabinet favors the idea of expanding the mission of the country's military contingent in Afghanistan beyond the area in and around Kabul. A proposal discussed calls for sending additional troops to Kundus in northern Afghanistan.

Speaking to the press on August 27 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stated that an expansion of the military mission for the purpose of helping to stabilize the central government in Afghanistan makes good sense and is necessary. At the same time it is seen as a conscionable move in terms of the security of the soldiers involved. This was confirmed by a report submitted by an advance team that was in Kundus last week. "As such, we are going to propose to the cabinet that it approve an expansion of the mission, " Schröder said.

He expressed his support of the idea of making an expansion of the mission beyond Kabul part of the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): "We want to do this on the basis of an expansion of the ISAF mandate." Schröder is confident it will be possible to get an expansion of the ISAF mandate approved by the UN Security Council. He said his government would like to see this "since we consider it a justifiable and sensible move." Other NATO partners have indicated their interest in taking part as well. Schröder noted that it will continue to be necessary to keep the ISAF mission distinct from that of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the option of expanding the geographical area of the mission in Afghanistan in the course of next week. Once cabinet approval has been given the proposal will still have to be voted on in parliament.

Further pacification of Afghanistan

The task of a German military contingent would be to provide security for a German provincial reconstruction team whose core task would be to promote civilian reconstruction efforts. The mission of the German soldiers involved would be to ensure sufficient security so that civilian reconstruction is possible. "I feel it is important that a strong civilian component be injected here," Schröder noted.

The German government sees its involvement in Afghanistan as an important contribution to the fight against international terrorism both financially and militarily. Chancellor Schröder underscored that the process of democratizing and stabilizing Afghanistan is far from being completed and that it is the task of the international community to help make this process a success.

What is ISAF?

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was created on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1386 (2001) and a mandate approved by the German parliament in December 2001.

Acting on behalf of the United Nations, ISAF is supporting the Afghan Interim Authority in its effort to protect human rights, create and preserve domestic security, distribute humanitarian aid, and ensure an orderly return of refugees. NATO assumed command of ISAF in August, taking over from Germany and the Netherlands.

ISAF is completely separate from Operation Enduring Freedom both in mission and in military structure.

What is Operation Enduring Freedom?

The legal foundations for Operation Enduring Freedom are UN Security Council Resolution 1368 of September 2001, a North Atlantic Council decision of September 2001, and a mandate issued by the German parliament in November 2001.

The aim of operation Enduring Freedom is to fight international terrorism. This means destroying terrorist command-and-control facilities and training camps, fighting terrorists directly, and preventing third parties from supporting terrorist activities. The operation is under US command and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. A liaison group from the German Defense Ministry is present there.


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