Germany to send more troops to Afghanistan
BERLIN, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — Germany has decided to send a combat unit to northern Afghanistan at the request of NATO, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said Wednesday.
“The 250 German combat soldiers, who will replace a 350-strong Norwegian force as a quick reaction force, would be deployed in the summer,” Jung told reporters in Berlin.
“We cannot allow a gap to develop,” Jung said, adding that the Norwegian force is leaving Afghanistan in July.
The request by NATO has raised concerns in Germany over a shift of the German military roles in Afghanistan from the previous reconstruction, security and training missions.
Last week, the German government rejected a separate request from the United States to send more troops to more volatile southern Afghanistan.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote a strongly-worded letter to his German counterpart last week, asking for additional combat troops in southern Afghanistan.
The German soldiers should continue to focus on their reconstruction, security and training missions in northern Afghanistan, Jung said.
Some 3,000 German troops are currently deployed in relatively peaceful northern Afghanistan under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).