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Germany announces plan to increase troops deployed to Afghanistan

The German government has announced it intends to send more troops to assist with the fight in Afghanistan. The move comes as instability in the region has led to increasing numbers of people seeking refuge in Europe.

German politicians said on Thursday that the government wants to expand its troop deployment to Afghanistan from 850 to 980 personnel.

The announcement comes as Taliban militants ramp up their fighting in the country and more Afghans seek refuge from the war by migrating to Europe, and in particular to Germany.

The government's plan will need to be confirmed by German parliament before more troops can be deployed. According to the politicians, the Bundeswehr's mission in Afghanistan will not change: The German army is there to provide military assistance to Afghan fighters not to fight directly against the Taliban.

An ongoing cycle?

The Defense Ministry has not yet confirmed how many more soldiers would be sent to Afghanistan. Members of The Left party attacked the plan, saying it would only perpetuate the cycle that spawned the current refugee crisis in Europe.

Most NATO forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014. Those that stayed served primarily to assist Afghan forces, which took over much of the responsibility of fighting militants in the country.

Germany, which had as many as 5,350 troops stationed in Afghanistan during the war's peak, had planned to withdraw its forces completely by the end of 2016.

blc/sms (dpa, AFP)

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