Germany is taking steps to allow its military to stay in Afghanistan beyond the May 1st deadline set by the US-Taliban peace deal. On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet approved a draft mandate that would allow German troops to stay in Afghanistan until January 31st, 2022.
The mandate still needs to be approved by Germany’s parliament. The current mandate for Afghanistan expires at the end of March. Germany currently has 1,100 troops in Afghanistan, the second-highest number next to the US, which currently has 2,500 troops in the country.
No official announcements have been made by either the US or NATO on the Afghanistan withdrawal, but Berlin seems keen to keep the war going. Over the past few months, German officials have been urging their allies to stay in Afghanistan.
Last week, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer warned against an Afghanistan withdrawal while acknowledging staying in the country means putting German troops in danger.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said staying in Afghanistan “means a changed security situation, an increased threat for the international forces, also for our own forces. We have to prepare for this, and we will certainly discuss this.”
While proponents of continuing the war in Afghanistan like to say the Taliban isn’t living up to its end of the deal, one pledge the Taliban has kept is not attacking the US or other coalition forces. February 8th marked one year without a US combat death in Afghanistan.