Germany is committed to the Afghan peace process, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said during an unannounced visit on Friday to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province, where most German troops in the country are deployed.
“Afghanistan urgently needs a settlement between the opposing groups of its society,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said according to a statement, as quoted by Reuters, adding that Berlin’s goal remained an orderly withdrawal of troops.
The current parliamentary mandate for the German operation with up to 1,300 troops expires at the end of March while the new US government is reviewing a 2020 agreement with the Taliban which called for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1.
According to Reuters report, Kramp-Karrenbauer has warned that a premature withdrawal of NATO troops could jeopardize peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban and said NATO troops needed to prepare for Taliban violence should they stay beyond the end of April.
The cabinet in Berlin on Wednesday gave the green light for an extension of Germany’s military mission in Afghanistan until Jan 31, 2022.
Last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at end of the two NATO defense ministers’ meetings in Brussels that the military alliance will only leave Afghanistan when security conditions on the ground allow it.
Stoltenberg said that at this stage, the alliance has not made a final decision about a troop presence in Afghanistan.
Stoltenberg said that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured allies that the US will work together with NATO on Afghanistan.
This comes as violence remains high in the country despite efforts for peace. However, President Ghani on Wednesday said that the way had been paved for more serious peace talks with the Taliban.