German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is aware that Germans and others around the world may not understand the mission in Afghanistan, but she called the troops presence there something "that guarantees our freedom and security."
"I know that many people have doubts about whether our mission is right," Merkel said Thursday during a speech at Stanford University in California. "But I would also like to say that I stand behind this mission with complete confidence, so that the country can be stabilized and can take responsibility for itself."
Merkel was on the last day of a four-day trip to the US. Her speech came hours after the announcement that four German soldiers had been killed and several others wounded during a firefight in Afghanistan. The speech was preceded by a minute of silence in honor of the dead.
Merkel also spoke of the importance of multilateral cooperation not just in defense, but in science and development. They were themes Merkel had focused on often during her trip to California, as she visited the overseas offices of German firms like Volkswagen, SAP and Bayer Health Science.
The chancellor said that the industrialized countries and developing countries would have to work together to prevent conflicts caused by climate change.
"Climate policy is peace policy for the world," Merkel said. "The protection of our climate will be a central test of how and if we can, as free and developed societies, bring about freedom, solidarity and partnership across continents."
Editor: Martin Kuebler