MERKEL SAYS GERMANY IS NOT INCREASING ITS TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN

Berlin – Germany will continue to lead NATO’s military training mission in northern Afghanistan, but is not looking to increase its presence there or to expand its role in the fight against ISIS, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Merkel said she would wait to see the outcome of NATO’s assessment of a request from the alliance’s military authorities to send more troops to Afghanistan. She signaled that Berlin was not ready to take on more responsibilities there.

“I don’t think we’re first in line to expand our capacities there. It’s more important to ensure that … stability is guaranteed in the north,” Merkel said.

Stoltenberg said a decision on NATO’s presence in Afghanistan was due “within weeks”, adding that the alliance was not discussing any return to combat missions in Afghanistan, and would continue to focus on “train, assist and advise” missions.

During their meeting today, Merkel and Stoltenberg discussed a range of topics including preparations for the upcoming meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels on 25 May.

Source: Qatar News Agency

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