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Germany agrees to extend Afghanistan mission till early 2022

By: Lailuma Noori

Following increasing violence and violent attacks of Taliban in Afghanistan, Germany high-ranking officials say the international community should refrain from early troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. They called on the international community to end the military mission in Afghanistan in a responsible way and avoid a premature withdrawal of foreign troops that might play into the hands of the Taliban.
“The peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are the first realistic chance for peace in Afghanistan in a long time, a chance we must not waste,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has told parliament.
Lawmakers have to decide whether to extend Germany’s military mission in Afghanistan until Jan 31, 2022, while the new U.S. government is reviewing a 2020 agreement with the Taliban which called for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1.
“No matter whether we like it or not: The presence of international troops remains one of our most important leverages, without international pressure the Taliban will not seriously engage in a political solution,” Maas said.
If we hastily pull out our troops we run a significant risk that the Taliban will seek a solution on the battle field instead of continuing the negotiations,” he added. Currently, foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan is to suppress terrorist groups, help maintain security and political stability. Afghanistan allies should not pull out troops from Afghanistan until the country reaches peace and stability. Activities of insurgent groups are still continuing across the country.
It is quite necessary that NATO member countries should keep part of troop presence in Afghanistan even after peace agreement so that the country stands on its feet.
After Joe Biden swore in as the US President, a range of changes were announced in the country’s foreign policy towards US – Taliban deal and troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Currently, US is reviewing the US – Taliban deal and has not decided whether the country withdraws its troops or keeps troop presence in Afghanistan.
Most of US officials are not in favor of full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as they have not reached to a final conclusion whether to stay or leave Afghanistan. On the other hand, armed Taliban has increased violence and violent attacks on Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and innocent civilians. Afghans are now facing with increasing violence and death threats by the Taliban as the country is losing most of its human investment due to increasing violence and the country’s continued attacks.
Lasting peace is considered as one of the most significant needs of each Afghan individual.
The ongoing intra-Afghan process between Afghanistan government and Taliban is a good chance and it should not be lost. Taliban should say “Yes” to a comprehensive ceasefire and honestly enter to negotiation with Afghanistan government for future of the country.
It is worth mentioning that the decision, which still requires the approval of the Bundestag or lower house of parliament, will see the current mandate, due to run out at the end of March, prolonged until January 31, 2022.
Germany has about 1,100 soldiers stationed in northern Afghanistan as part of NATO’s 9,600-strong Resolute Support mission.

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