Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Merkel pays surprise visit to German troops

Latest update : 2009-04-06

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Afghanistan on Monday to visit German troops, a government spokesman said. She reiterated that NATO could not afford to allow terror networks to gain a foothold in the country.

AFP - Chancellor Angela Merkel visited German troops stationed in northern Afghanistan on Monday, days after a NATO summit recommitted the alliance to helping the country fight a Taliban-led insurgency.

Merkel was accompanied by German Defence Minister Franz-Josef Jung, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in northern Afghanistan told AFP.

"She will be with German troops in different places," the spokesman said.

The official could not give details of her movements for security reasons but said she was not expected to travel to Kabul.

German soldiers are in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and adjoining Kunduz. Northern Afghanistan sees less of the near daily violence of the south, but there have been several attacks on troops.

Merkel's visit, her second to Afghanistan since November 2007, follows two attacks on German forces near the northern city of Kunduz on Sunday. No one was hurt, the army said. The insurgent Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the strikes.

On Monday, two rockets were fired at a Kunduz reconstruction team but caused no damage, the German military said.

Germany has around 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, one of 42 nations forming the nearly 60,000-strong ISAF. The German parliament voted last year to increase this to 4,500.

The visit comes on the heels of a NATO summit hosted by France and Germany last weekend at which US President Barack Obama praised the alliance for committing up to 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Obama singled out commitments from France and Germany as proof of their "seriousness of purpose".

During the summit, Merkel described Afghanistan as "NATO's biggest test at present."

Germany would "continue to make its contribution by supplying troops, by training Afghan police and by taking part in the reconstruction" of the country, she pledged.

She also reiterated that NATO could not afford to allow terror networks to gain a foothold in the country.

"We should remember that Afghanistan... was the base for the attacks of September 11, 2001. This was possible because there was no functioning state," she told the German parliament on March 26.

Germany's part in the Afghan conflict is the country's first major overseas military operation since World War II and is highly unpopular at home.

A recent poll by the Forsa institute showed that 58 percent of Germans want the government to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, where 31 German soliders have been killed in the country since 2002.

Merkel called Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday for talks on bilateral ties and to raise concerns about a new law covering the Shiite minority that critics say oppresses women, the president's office said.

Karzai has ordered a review of the law, which he signed last month but has yet to be published, amid claims that it bans women from working or receiving an education without the permission of their husbands.

The government confirmed Monday that the law was not in force and reiterated it would be altered if a review found it contradicted women's rights.

 

Date created : 2009-04-06

COMMENT(S)