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Germany

Struck: Expanded Afghan Mission Possible

At an informal gathering of NATO defense ministers in Nice, France, German Defense Minister Peter Struck said on Thursday that Germany might expand its mission in northern Afghanistan. The meeting was framed by current NATO plans to extend its involvement to the whole country. Struck said his country was considering taking over a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in northern Afghanistan that is currently led by the British. But he added that "we will not send any more troops to Afghanistan." Any extra forces needed for the north would be moved from the Afghan capital. The German minister meanwhile said that Berlin was willing to consider plans for forging closer cooperation between ISAF and the more robust and frontline US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The United States is pushing for an integration of the two forces, but German is cautious notably because it does not want its troops involved in combat mission, as opposed to peacekeeping operations. "I can certainly imagine an expansion of this mandate, but for that we need an amended decision by parliament," said Struck, referring to constitutional questions restricting the roles of German forces deployed outside the country.

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