Germany and Britain have made a joint call for a special U.N. conference on Afghanistan to be held later this year.
The main idea is to set new targets for transferring security responsibilities to the Afghan authorities. It is a move largely seen as a prelude to reducing NATO troop levels. The initiative which is also backed by France was one of several topics to be raised at the top level talks in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Our plan is to prepare the Afghan government, over the coming transition period, to take on an increasing number of responsibilities itself.” Britain has more than 9,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan, the second largest contingent after the US. It has vowed to stay in the country until the Afghans can protect themselves but has called for the goal of training some 134,000 Afghan soldiers by the year 2011 to be brought forward. The operation to guarantee security for the recent Afghan election has proved too costly for some back home. And now with accusations that the poll was in part fraudulent, the government is finding it harder to justify the continued UK troop presence.