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Germany

Germany For Bigger Role in Afghanistan

Germany is willing to take on a bigger role in Afghanistan if NATO wishes and the German parliament agrees, German Defense Minister Peter Struck said on Tuesday, adding that his country could take over responsibility for all the north. Speaking in neighboring Uzbekistan just before he left for the Afghan capital Kabul, Struck described the situation in Afghanistan as "neither calm nor stable." Afghanistan is expected to hold parliamentary and municipal elections later this year and after that "Germany is ready to take charge of the entire northern region" of the country, Struck said. He added however that Germany would wait until NATO finalized its plans for the north and that the German parliament would need to approve any expanded role. Germany currently contributes about 2,000 soldiers to the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan (ISAF), the largest single contingent in the 8,000-strong force, which comprises troops from 37 countries. The force is mainly deployed in and around the capital.

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