Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Bundeswehr widens Afghanistan engagement, reports Frankfurter Allegemeine.

The German government plans to extend the German troops' mission in Afghanistan beyond the capital Kabul, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Wednesday, calling an expansion of the German troops' scope of action "sensible, necessary and responsible."

... An extension of the UN's Isaf mandate has so far been resisted by the United States.

... Asked whether Germany would send troops to Iraq next, [Defense Minister Peter] Struck told Welt am Sonntag newspaper, "No. There is no UN mandate for Iraq." Schroeder confirmed, "Unlike some others, we're not considering a military engagement." A UN resolution has become a possibility, however, following the recent attack on the UN's Baghdad office.

"We must not shy away from our responsibility," the [opposition] CDU's Merkel [who opposes sending more troops to Afghanistan] told Spiegel newsmagazine. "Germany can't principally rule out a contribution to a UN mission in Iraq," she said.
The extension of peacekeeping forces beyond Kabul would be good news, but it's strange this didn't get much coverage in the English language press. Suspicious, I dare say.


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