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Germany

Berlin condemns Afghan leadership

A German government report on the situation in Afghanistan claims that "progress in the area of governance is negligible" and singles out President Hamid Karzai for criticism. The report will be presented to German MPs.

Hamid Karzai

Karzai has been president of Afghanistan since 2004

A German government report on the situation in Afghanistan says the conflict "cannot be won by military means." The report, to be presented to MPs on Monday, presents a comprehensive update on the situation in Afghanistan. Politicians had demanded the information in order to make a better decision about whether to withdraw German troops from the region.

Merkel and Karzai in Berlin

The report reveals the truth behind the diplomatic smiles

On Thursday, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle will make the case for prolonging the German mandate in Afghanistan. The decision will be made in parliament at the end of January.

The news magazine Focus claims the Germans could begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as early as late 2011.

Military means are not enough

The 100-page report covers security, reconstruction and governance, as well as development. Westerwelle had demanded an "unadulterated and honest situation report," according to the foreign ministry.

The report concludes that the Afghan conflict cannot be won by military means, and recommends negotiations with insurgents instead.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai comes in for particular criticism. The reports says that NATO's entire mission is under threat because of the incompetence of Karzai's government.

Petraeus asked for German help

News magazine Der Spiegel also reported that the Commander of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has asked for German support in overseeing the Afghan airspace.

The report claims that the German government had attempted to forestall the request, in order to avoid an embarrassing refusal. Berlin is apparently concerned that the mission would be hard to implement, because it would require a new parliamentary mandate.

German chancellor Angela Merkel praised German troops on Saturday. She said that soldiers abroad were working to promote the security of the country under great personal risk.

"Our security is not only being defended within our own country, but also beyond the German borders," Merkel said.

There are 4,800 German troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Ben Knight

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