Report: Merkel, Karzai discuss 'possible extension' for troops

By ANJA SEMMELROCH | The (Hamburg, Germany) Deutsche Presse-Agentur | Published: January 16, 2014

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday to discuss the status of international forces in his country, including the length of time that German troops would stay in Afghanistan, German magazine Der Spiegel reported.

The telephone conversation covered a "possible extension" in the length of time that German forces, currently numbering about 3,100, would remain, the report said, citing government sources in Berlin.

The extension is a reference to a smaller number of German troops that could stay in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops end their mission in late 2014.

Germany is planning to contribute up to 800 troops to an international effort to advise and train Afghan government forces after the withdrawal of combat troops, depending partly on a stalled US-Afghan security pact.

New German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, speaking in Afghanistan just before Christmas, said she was keen for Germany to "complete what has been started" in the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 19, 2013 after a cermony marking the transition to Afghan control of security operations across the country. The event was held at Afghanistan's National Defense University.


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