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BONN — Germany is prepared to continue its military engagement in Afghanistan when ISAF ends in 2014, but only as part of an international mission and under certain conditions.
Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle presented their country’s offer to a possible international mission on April 18 in Berlin.
“The German federal government is prepared, as of 2015 for the following two years, to provide soldiers of around 600 to 800 for the train, advise and assist mission,” de Maizière said. The minister presented a so called “Hub and Spoke” model for Afghanistan, the hub being the capital. From there, four spokes would go out to the largest population centers in the north, south, east and west.
Germany is prepared to send its soldiers to Kabul and north to Mazar-e-Sharif, which is already the country’s area of responsibility.
“We are prepared to take on responsibility in the north, in Masar-e Sharif, as the framework nation, while being supported by our international partner nations,” the minister said. According to de Maizière, this model is limited to about two years. After that, the training, advising and assisting will be concentrated on the Kabul region.
“The German contribution will then entail around 200 to 300 soldiers,” he said.
Besides the capability to train and advise the Afghan National Security Forces, this mission would include providing support to its own troops and other troop contributors. Examples include logistics, medical facilities, transport capabilities, the protection of the servicemen and possibly evacuation, the minister said.
De Maizière said that conditions needed to participate in a new international mission after 2015 include a formal invitation from the Afghan government, a UN Security Council Resolution, a status of forces agreement with the Afghan government and a security situation that allows it.
With respect to the current ISAF mission, de Maizière said, “Thereby a mission will end, that was also a combat mission in its nature. Afghanistan must then look after its own security at the operational level.”
A future mission to train, advise and assist would be conducted to secure the results of the work.