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German Parliament Votes To Extend, Boost Afghan Mission

Most Germans are against their troops being in Afghanistan
Germany's parliament has voted to send up to 850 more troops to Afghanistan and extend the mission by one year.

With an authorized maximum of 4,500 troops, Germany currently has the third-largest contigent in the NATO-led force in Afghanistan behind the United States and Britain.

The new one-year mandate received broad parliamentary approval, with 429 lawmakers voting in favor, while 111 opposed it and 46 abstained. Germany cannot deploy troops abroad without annual parliamentary approval.

During the debate, deputies from the Left Party who held up posters in an antiwar protest were thrown out of the session.

The Afghan mission is deeply unpopular among Germans, according to opinion polls.

The German government has said it wants to start bringing its troops home by 2011 but has not set a concrete date for withdrawal.

compiled from agency reports