Germany has announced plans to send an extra one thousand soldiers to Afghanistan. The increase, which will have to be agreed by parliament, would raise Germany’s troop limit to 4,500 and extend its mandate until December 2009. However, ministers have resisted NATO pressure to commit a full contingent to help fight Taliban insurgents in the more dangerous south.
Five civilians died yesterday when a suicide bomber targeted a NATO-led convoy in the province of Herat. It came after an attack last Friday in which US-led coalition troops killed around 55 insurgents who had ambushed them in Paktika province.
There are roughly 60 thousand foreign troops in Afghanistan, most of them part of the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force or ISAF. At the weekend, German NATO General Egon Ramms said alliance members needed to send an additional 6,000 troops urgently, or risk prolonging the presence of Western forces in the country by years.