KABUL: Germany has extended its troop presence in Afghanistan beyond the May 1 deadline set by the U.S. last year with the Taliban for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
According to Reuters, German lawmakers approved a new mandate late on Thursday that allows the German military to retain up to 1,300 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO mission until January 2022.
Meanwhile, Sediq Seddiqi, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs for Strategy and Policies, lauded Germany’s decision and underlined that “ Afghans are grateful for the meaningful, strategic, and long-term partnership with Germany, working together for security and stability. The German soldiers are most welcome as their Parliament extended their stay for another year. It is your second home.”
The German current parliamentary mandate ends at the end of March 2020.
The remarks come as the German government had earlier cautioned that a premature withdrawal of NATO troops could jeopardize the peace talks, but if NATO troops remain in Afghanistan beyond May 1 deadline, they would have to prepare for the Taliban’s violence.
The current U.S. administration, in the meantime, is still evaluating the 2020 US-Taliban peace deal, and it is not clear for how long NATO troops would stay in Afghanistan.