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Germany

Germans Send Troops to Secure Afghan Election

Germany said Wednesday it would send about 60 additional soldiers to Afghanistan to boost security ahead of the country's first presidential election in October. A defense ministry spokesman said the troops would be deployed in September for a limited period of time in Feyzabad in the northeast of the war-ravaged country. In addition, the spokesman confirmed that Germany planned to send 80 soldiers as part of a civilian-military reconstruction team to Feyzabad. An advance team of 20 troops is already preparing for their arrival there in the middle of this month. Germany has some 270 soldiers in a reconstruction team in nearby Kunduz, about 250 kilometers from Feyzabad. Under a parliamentary mandate authorizing the deployment, it can send a total of 450 soldiers to the country. The spokesman said it was not yet clear whether other countries would also send backup forces to help the German team in Feyzabad but said he was optimistic that current talks would "soon" produce results. NATO agreed at its Istanbul summit in July to step up troop levels in Afghanistan ahead of the Oct. 9 poll. (AFP)

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