"I would very respectfully ask Germans…to reflect on whether the very narrow and very rigid restrictions put on the German troops make sense for NATO," US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said Sunday at a defense conference organized by Welt am Sonntag.
"Wouldn't it be better if Germany and France…could be willing to have those troops sent sometimes on a periodic, temporary basis to help the Dutch, British, US and Canadians that are undertaking the major share of the fighting?" he added.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also called on member states to strengthen and expand NATO's role in Afghanistan.
Renewed Taliban threats
The US appeal for increased German involvement coincided with a video released Sunday by Taliban head Mullah Mohammed Omar.
"With Allah's help the conflict will be intensified. I am convinced that the fighting will be a surprise for many," said Mullah Omar, as reported by Reuters.
The Taliban leader has been at large since US forces overthrew the Taliban regime after Sept. 11, 2001. He and cohort Osama bin Laden are the two most-wanted terror suspects in the world.
Germany extends time, not area
The German army has 2,900 troops in northern Afghanistan as part of the 30,000-strong NATO mission and also supports forces in the south with air transports.
Germany agreed last month to keep troops in northern Afghanistan for another 12 months, but said it would not join the NATO forces in the south where violence has been escalating.
Police training efforts to expand
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and his Afghani counterpart Sarar Ahmad Mokbil signed a treaty on Monday in Berlin laying the legal groundwork for 40 additional German police officers in Kabul, Masar-i-Scharif, Kundus and Feisabad, reported the AP news service.
Germany has also been involved in building up the Afghani police force since March 2002 and has invested some 70 million euros ($88 million) in the operation.
The focus of Germany's police involvement includes advising top decision-makers and helping train and equip local police officers.