Germany is not looking to boost its presence in Afghanistan or to expand its role in the fight against Islamic State, but will continue to lead NATO’s military training mission in northern part of the country, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, Reuters Reported.
Addressing a joint press 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.
But the German leader stressed that her country is not ready to take on more responsibilities in Afghanistan.
“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”.
“If there is any increase, which is not yet decided, then we will go out and ask all allies and partners,” he said.
It come as Australia is “open” to a NATO request for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan, the country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Friday.
“We have been asked to consider additional resources, and we are actively considering that. We’re open to that,” Turnbull said, as cited in reports.
Currently, some 270 Australian forces are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in the capital Kabul in support, security and training roles. Since start of 2001, 42 Australian troops have died in the country.