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New mandate for German troops in Afghanistan

New mandate for German troops in Afghanistan
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The German parliament has voted to renew the deployment of up to 3,500 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO force. The vote flies in the face of public opinion, which is strongly against the mission. But the government maintains it can not give up on Afghanistan. “It is a fact that the broad majority of the people in Afghanistan urgently wish that that we continue our mission,” said the defence minister, Franz Josef Jung.

Green party politicians abstained in the vote. “The majority of our abstentions is an expression of sorrow for us, said the leader of the Greens parliamentary group, Renate Kuenast. “The expression of sorrow whether enough is being done in the civil area in Afghanistan.”

One recent newspaper poll showed that only 29 per cent of Germans were in favour of extending the mandate in Afghanistan. Observers say support has dwindled because of the deaths of 26 German soldiers. There was also said to be unease within the Social Democrats, partners in the ruling coalition.

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