Germany Prepares Withdrawal From Afghanistan

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The Bundeswehr's contingent of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan will be reduced from 4,400 to 3,300 by the end of February 2014, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a joint press conference yesterday.

Photo: Bundeswehr/Sadzio

The cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to present a new mandate for 13 months rather than the 12 months of previous mandates to allow for the step-by-step reduction of German troops depending on the situation in Afghanistan to this lower level, which includes 300 logistics personnel for the withdrawal.

Consultations with the Bundestag, the German parliament, will begin in December, with the vote, which is expected to pass by a large majority, planned for January.

De Maizière said there would be a continued military presence in a support role in Afghanistan, including the Bundewehr, beyond 2014, as agreed by allied leaders at NATO's Chicago summit last May.

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