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Germany

Berlin Willing to Expand Police Mission in Afghanistan

Germany said it would double the number of police instructors in Afghanistan, but only if other EU countries were prepared to follow suit. If participating nations take part, the mission would increase to 400 officers.

German police officer explaining to new recruits

Germany's police mission has been criticized

Berlin's offer comes against a background of ongoing criticism that Germany had reneged on its earlier promises to the trouble-torn country, and international calls upon Germany to increase its commitments in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble expressed Germany's willingness to increase the number of trainers from 60 to 120 in a joint commentary published Sunday, Feb. 24, in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

"After a difficult initial phase, the European police mission, Eupol, is finally finding its feet," the ministers wrote. "We advocate doubling the personnel of Eupol and will make corresponding proposals to our European colleagues."

Currently, EUPOL plans to deploy 200 police instructors to the country by April. The ministers called for this number to be increased to 400.

Afghan police's track record is poor

Afghan police officers stand near a crater caused by an explosion after a suicide bomber targeted a minibus

Afghan police have been struggling to deal with the rise in the number of suicide bombings

The poor performance of the Afghan police has led to charges that Berlin did not follow through on earlier promises to help build a neutral, corruption-free police in the nation.

The Christian Democratic Union's deputy parliamentary party leader, Wolfgang Bosbach, accused the other EU states of effectively blocking Germany's attempts to improve the situation in the country.

"We have offered the EU extra training forces, but Brussels have rejected our offer," he said. "Europe wants to stop the number of German staff from becoming disproportionate. But because the other countries are not prepared to increase their contingents, more Germans won't be training Afghan police."

Reinforced mission in Afghanistan

Afghan policemen march during a graduation ceremony in Kabul,

The quantity and quality of new Afghan police officers needs to be improved

As part of its new Afghanistan strategy, the German government agreed to increase its involvement in civilian reconstruction and expand its involvement. Earlier in February, Berlin agreed to deploy an extra 200 troops to the country's north.

The German Defence Ministry announced on Saturday that the government had set up a 50-strong permanent regional advisory team in the northern Afghan town of Taloqan consisting of German ISAF peacekeepers and development workers.

Germany recently rejected the United States' call for it to send troops to the country's troubled southern region.

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