by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Nov 14, 2012
Germany revealed details of its likely drawdown plan for Afghanistan on Wednesday with the aim of seeing its number of troops fall to 3,300 by February 2014, two ministers said.
Germany currently has around 4,800 troops in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent under NATO's International Security Assistance Force, behind Britain's 9,500 troops and some 68,000 US soldiers.
Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Germany was continuing a gradual withdrawal of soldiers more than a decade after their deployment, from an all-time high of 5,350 a year ago.
The ministers said the cabinet would decide by the end of the month on the target of 3,300 troops by February 2014, and the Bundestag lower house of parliament would vote soon afterward.
By January 2013, the number should already sink to 4,400.
Germany has agreed with its NATO partners to gradually pull combat forces out of the country by the end of 2014 as Afghan troops assume more responsibility for security.
But it plans to maintain a military presence from 2015 assisting Afghan forces.
During a visit to Kabul on Monday, De Maiziere told a press conference with his Afghan counterpart Bismullah Khan Mohammadi that the reduction of the German troop deployment would be "reliable, sufficient and sustainable".
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