Afghan official warns on troop pullout

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Afghan official warns on troop pullout

Afghan official warns on troop pullout
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Afghanistan’s former foreign minister has cast doubt on his country’s ability to take charge of its own security, despite recent successes in tackling the Taliban.

Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Rangin Dadfar Spanta said the international community should wait before withdrawing its forces.

The meeting was organised by Germany’s main opposition party, the Social Democrats (SPD), who have called repeatedly for the German government to wind down its military presence in Afghanistan.

But Spanta, who will attend a conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday, warned an early exit by coalition troops could hinder progress on human rights and threaten stability.

“Women will be the biggest losers in my country if you pull your troops out too soon. I hope that does not happen,” he said.

Reports that say Berlin will boost troop numbers by one-third, from their current levels of 4,500, have been strenously denied by the German government.

Deployment of forces abroad requires the approval of parliament, according to German law.

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel told his fellow party members that German involvement in Afghanistan should end by 2015.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has so far remained tight-lipped on whether more soldiers will be called up.

She is set to outline her policy on Afghanistan to lawmakers in Berlin on Wednesday next week.