Germany unveils plan to withdraw one-tenth of Afghan troops by 2012
German officials Thursday unveiled a draft timetable to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, starting with a drawdown of nearly one-tenth of the force early in 2012, dpa reported.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is under pressure from the public to end the mission, which polls show most Germans disapprove of. Berlin is already committed to a pullout in step with the United States, which has led the 10-year war against the Taliban.
The timetable was presented to the leaders of the government and opposition parties in parliament by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere.
It proposes a drawdown of 450 posts early in 2012, with another 500 posts being gradually scrapped over the following 12 months.
The force, which has a size limit set by parliament, now numbers about 5,350. After the 12-month period of withdrawal it would number 4,400.
Officials said the cabinet would draft next month a request to parliament to authorize new troop levels in January in line with the timetable. So far, there had been bipartisan support in the parliament for the mission, despite voters' unease about it.