Germany is poised to send more troops to Afghanistan, according to several news reports Tuesday.
"Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will send 500 additional German troops to Afghanistan, bowing to U.S. pressure to widen a mission that most Germans reject,” reports Bloomberg’s Tony Czuczka.
“The extra troops will protect the civilian population and train Afghan forces to help President Hamid Karzai’s government assume more responsibility for security, Merkel said. Another 350 soldiers will be put on standby for Afghanistan, she said.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted by the BBC as saying: "I think that if Germany plans to train at least one-third of the police forces in Afghanistan, if it doubles what it is doing in terms of civil reconstruction and we make our entire approach more effective and harmonize it with the international community, plus adds 500 troops and a flexible reserve of 350 troops, then we have nothing to be ashamed of."
Meanwhile, Eric Schmitt of the New York Times has a report today about two cables sent in November to Washington by Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, outlining his concerns about the leadership there and his thoughts on an increase of U.S. troops.
“The full cables, obtained by The New York Times, show for the first time just how strongly the current ambassador felt about the leadership of the Afghan government, the state of its military and the chances that a troop buildup would actually hurt the war effort by making the Karzai government too dependent on the United States,” Schmitt writes.
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Ben Quinn (Christian Science Monitor): “British diplomat named Afghanistan development chief”
- C.J. Chivers (New York Times): “The hidden dangers of Helmand Province, Part 1”
- Matthias Gebauer (Der Spiegel): “NATO envisions many more years in Afghanistan”
- Farhan Bokhari (Financial Times): “Pakistan intelligence offers key to Taliban”
- Leslie Gelb (The Daily Beast): “New doubts about Afghanistan”