No need for Germany to change Afghan mission: Merkel

A028024110.jpgBERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she saw no need to change parliamentary mandates that set limits on the number of troops her government can send to Afghanistan despite mounting pressure from NATO allies.

“We are not changing the mandates as they are at the moment,” Merkel told reporters. “I see no need for a change at the moment.”

Germany, which has roughly 3,300 troops in Afghanistan, is under pressure from allies, particularly the United States, to send additional soldiers and shift them from the north to the more-dangerous south to help battle Taliban insurgents.

The main mandate, which is due to expire in October, allows Germany to send a maximum of 3,500 soldiers to Afghanistan. German media have reported that Merkel’s government seeks to increase the number of troops.

But Merkel said she saw no need to increase German troops or shift them elsewhere in Afghanistan at the moment.

“We agree mandates for a year,” Merkel said.

“Our mandate is what it is. And beyond the duration of the mandate, we have no intention at the moment to go into the south. We believe that we have a lot to do in the north.”

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