The German defense ministry announced that the current number of troops stationed in Afghanistan will be maintained at the same level.
Germany Decides to Keep Troops in Afghanistan
Germany's defense ministry has announced that its troops will remain in Afghanistan for the time being following the United States' announcement to keep troops in Afghanistan until at least the end of 2016.
The German defense ministry announced that the current number of troops stationed in Afghanistan will be maintained at the same level, but did not provide an updated timeline on when troops might be withdrawn.
Germany's Foreign affairs spokesman Martin Schäfer said that from the beginning of the military mission in Afghanistan, the guiding principle had been that allied troops that had gone into Afghanistan together would withdraw together.
The Germany had planned severe cuts to troop numbers by spring 2016, reducing its military presence to the capital city Kabul only. Currently, German soldiers only provide training for Afghan security forces, but recent clashes in the northern city of Kunduz may indicate that more work could be required.
Meanwhile, the NATO foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels in December and decide on future steps for the mission in Afghanistan. The German soldiers account for less than 7 percent of current NATO forces in Afghanistan, which total 13,000. U.S Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that he expected further NATO allies to follow the U.S' example and prolong their missions.
The United States President Barack Obama declared Thursday that a peace deal on the part of the Taliban with the Afghan government is the only way for a complete withdrawal of American troops from the country.
While announcing his new plan on delaying the current troop level draw down in Afghanistan, Obama said he would discuss the issue of peace with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif next week.
"By now it should be clear to Taliban and all who oppose Afghanistan's progress the only real way to achieve the full draw down of U.S and foreign troops from Afghanistan is through a lasting political settlement with the Afghan government," Obama declared.
Meanwhile, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly welcomes President Obama's plans to prolong the troops engagement in Afghanistan, her spokesman said.
"She strongly welcomes yesterday's announcement from President Obama on the future U.S. engagement in Afghanistan," spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference on Friday.
"This announcement is an important signal to the international community, it is an important signal to the alliance partners of the United States but above all an important signal to the Afghan people."
Obama also urged that all the Taliban and terrorists' sanctuaries must be eliminated in Afghanistan.
"Next week I will host Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan and I will continue to urge all parties in the region to press the Taliban to return to peace talks and to do their part in pursue to the peace that Afghans deserve," Obama continued.
After days of speculation about the Obama administration's review of downsizing troops, the U.S president reversed his policy on Afghanistan and announced the current posture of troops – 9,800 – will stay in the country through the end of 2016.
Also he announced that a total of 5,500 soldiers will stay in Afghanistan after 2016, when he leaves office.
The Afghan Presidential Palace in a statement has also welcomed the U.S plan and said that "the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, on behalf of the people of the country, welcomes President Obama's decision on continuation of cooperation of that country with the people of Afghanistan, especially in the area of security, which is based on the terms of the security and strategic partnership agreements between the two countries."
The statement said that the decision to maintain the current level of the United States' forces in Afghanistan once again shows renewal of the partnership and strengthening of relations of the United States with Afghanistan on the basis of common interests and risks.
"The focal point of these interests is stability and development of Afghanistan as well as fighting the regional and global terrorists. This decision has been taken following several months of continued talks between the two Presidents and as a result of joint work and thorough assessments by the authorities of the two sides," according to the statement.
The US plan has also welcomed by the most the allies country.