German foreign minister pledges lasting support to Afghan partners | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 19.11.2011
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German foreign minister pledges lasting support to Afghan partners

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has pledged to maintain a lasting partnership with Afghanistan after NATO-led troops withdraw in 2014. Westerwelle was in Kabul ahead of a key conference on Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai shakes hands with German Foreign Minster Guido Westerwelle

Preparations for the Bonn conference dominated talks

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle held talks with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Saturday ahead of a crucial conference on the future of Afghanistan in the wake of international troop withdrawal.

Westerwelle promised that Germany's relationship with Afghanistan would remain strong beyond the 2014 date set for NATO-led combat troops to leave the country.

"In the years after 2014 we will not forget our friends in Afghanistan," Westerwelle said.

Germany is due to host the international conference on December 5 when more than 90 delegates from around the world will gather in Bonn. Key topics due to be discussed are the transition of responsibility to the Afghan government, stalled efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and regional and international involvement in Afghanistan after 2014.

Long-term partnership

Janan Mosazai, an Afghan foreign ministry spokesman told news agency AFP on Saturday that Westerwelle had met with Karzai and Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul to "discuss the outline of Afghanistan's expectations in Bonn."

Afghanistan had presented Germany with a document outlining how it sees its "long-term partnership with the international community and their mutual obligations," Mosazai added.

Germany is due to begin the withdrawal of some of its 5,000 soldiers in Afghanistan in the coming weeks. There are currently 140,000 international troops in the country, mostly from the United States.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (AFP, dpa, dapd)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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