Merkel: Germany to continue support to Afghanistan beyond 2014
Germany is to continue aid to Afghanistan beyond 2014 when its troops are scheduled to leave, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin on Thursday after meeting visiting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, DPA reported.
"We agreed that our responsibility for Afghanistan will not end after the withdrawal of fighting troops," she said. Germany would continue to fund training of Afghan security forces. Rasmussen also said NATO would not turn its back on Afghanistan.
Germany is set to host a conference of Afghans on the future of their country at the start of December. The Germans, who have about 5,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, mainly in the north of the country, are scheduled to begin their gradual drawdown in the next few weeks.
Merkel said the conference in Bonn would be an opportunity to discuss "jobs that still have to be done."
She said she and Rasmussen agreed that Afghanistan was on a "sensible" path, "even if there is a great deal still to be done."
Rasmussen said the withdrawal timetable was firm, but support beyond 2014 was important for the whole region. Pakistan had to be aware that NATO's departure would not leave a "security vacuum."