The German Armed Forces Association has criticized the government’s planned expansion of the Afghanistan mandate from Kabul to the outlying provinces. Chairman of the association, Bernhard Gertz, said in a television interview Friday, "I believe that the idea of suddenly sending 300 soldiers somewhere is really an alibi participation." Gertz said the expansion would give out definite signals, but warned, "the risk is enormously high. Even for the soldiers." A new investigation team will head to Afghanistan next week to probe whether the city of Kunduz in the north of the country is safe enough for a German team comprising soldiers and civilian helpers. Gertz has demanded a comprehensive concept for the development of the country and said the foreign minister should be primarily responsible for it. "It should be Joschka Fischer, who gives the impulses," he said.