German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has suggested that Berlin’s military deployment in Afghanistan should be extended beyond its expiration in March, Germany’s dpaInternational reported.
Quoted by the Funke Media Group newspapers in comments published Saturday, Maas said that the peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban will not be completed by then.
"Therefore, we must be prepared with a parliamentary mandate for various scenarios,” Maas said.
According to dpa news agency, Germany’s military can deploy up to 1,300 soldiers as part of its role in the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
The one-year deployment was estimated by the German government to cost 427.5 million euros, according to dpa news agency.
The discussion of withdrawing forces was prompted by a deal signed by the Taliban and the United States which foresees all foreign troops pulling out of the country by April.
“Withdrawal of all US forces by the end of April could potentially be disastrous. What we would see I think is Taliban go on offensive. I think we would see then a result perhaps resemble the civil war that followed the collapse of the soviet-supported regime that existed for two years after the soviets withdrew their final forces,” said David H. Petraeus, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan is part of the February 2020 peace deal between the United States and the Taliban in Doha.
The number of US troops in Afghanistan has reached 2,500 and based on the US-Taliban agreement, they shall leave the country by May 1; however, the Biden administration officials have said that they are reviewing the agreement. US senators have said that American troops will not leave the country based on the given deadline in the Doha deal.
The Taliban was expected to reduce violence as part of the Doha agreement and amidst the peace negotiations with the Afghan Republic team in Qatar. But, Afghan and US officials have said that violence has remained “too high” in the country despite efforts for peace.
Quoted in by dpa, the German defense minister said that the new US administration under President Joe Biden should make a partnership possible again going forward.
There is agreement “that we want to take this deployment to an end together as coalition partners in a responsible way that does not endanger the peace process,” he said.