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Germany

Germany Plans New Camp in Afghanistan

Ahead of the next general elections in Afghanistan, Germany's army intends to build a military camp south of Kabul to boost security at the start of the next year, a defense ministry spokesman said Saturday.

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The Bundeswehr has camps in Kabul, Faizabad and Kunduz

Prior to the 2005 general elections, Germany's Bundeswehr will have set up a temporary garrison south of the Afghanistan capital. A spokesman for the defense ministry said an army patrol would travel to the town of Surobi, 60 (36 miles) kilometers outside of Kabul to discuss the parameters of the new camp with local authorities.

The military facility is scheduled to be up an running by January next year.

German Defense Minister Peter Struck, who is set to travel to Afghanistan on Sunday to visit German troops stationed there, said the security situation in the country remained "unstable" two weeks ahead of the country's October 9 presidential election.

Die Bundeswehr in Feyzabad Afghanistan

Headquarters for the German provisional reconstruction team in Faizabad

With its 1,480 soldiers, Germany provides the largest national troop contingent within the NATO-run International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In addition to a headquarters in Kabul, the Bundeswehr has also deployed soldiers to the northern towns of Kunduz and Faizabad (photo), where the security situation is considerably more unstable due to constant fighting among provincial warlords.

Die Bundeswehr in Feyzabad Afghanistan

The provisional reconstruction team is responsible for patrolling the northern provinces.

The 400 troops stationed outside Kabul are responsible for managing provincial reconstruction teams charged with improving security, fostering reconstruction work and boosting the influence of the central government. But these troops have been accused of failing to tackle security problems, in particular after they did not intervene during recent clashes targeting aid workers in Faizabad.

Minister Struck is expected to address the issue of security in the run-up to the historical presidential elections, the first since the overthrow of the Taliban by US forces in December 2001.

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