While most of the European countries retreat from Afghanistan, Germany decided to send 850 extra soldiers, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Tuesday, two days before a key NATO-led conference on Afghanistan to be held in London.

 Merkel said in Berlin that 500 of those troops would be sent to join the 4,500-strong German troops, mostly of whom have already deployed in the northern Afghanistan, as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

While most of the European countries retreat from Afghanistan, Germany decided to send 850 extra soldiers, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Tuesday, two days before a key NATO-led conference on Afghanistan to be held in London.

 

Merkel said in Berlin that 500 of those troops would be sent to join the 4,500-strong German troops, mostly of whom have already deployed in the northern Afghanistan, as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

 

Speaking in Berlin, Merkel confirmed that a further 350 troops would be kept as a “flexible reserve”, to be used to provide extra security in events such as the parliamentary election scheduled for the autumn.

 

A NATO-led international conference on Afghanistan strategy will be held in London on Jan. 28. German allies are expecting Merkel’s government to send more soldiers to Afghanistan, as a response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to increase 30,000 additional combat troops. Pressure has been growing on Germany from NATO allies to sent extra troops for the ISAF mission. Merkel had insisted that any decision on additional forces would not be made until the NATO-led conference.

 

Merkel also said Germany would double its aid to Afghanistan for reconstruction and development by providing 430 million euros until 2013 to improve infrastructure, education and employment opportunities. “Without reconstruction, we cannot have security,” she said.

 

In addition, Berlin would provide 10 million euros per year for a Taliban-reintegration program, thought to be part of a $500 million-program finalized at a major NATO conference held in London on Thursday.

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