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German Lawmakers Approve Troop Increase For Afghanistan


German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen

The German parliament has approved plans to extend the country's military mission in Afghanistan.

A majority of lawmakers voted to approve a bill raising the maximum number of German troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission by one-third to 1,300.

The decision comes as the Western-backed government in Kabul is struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

Earlier this month, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that the German troop increase should be matched with accelerated reforms by the Afghan government.

She also warned that the military’s mission in Afghanistan would likely extend for some time, saying, "We need patience and a long breath, without question."

Germany has contributed to NATO missions in Afghanistan for the past 17 years.

The German military has its headquarters in Afghanistan in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and a large base near Kunduz.

Based on reporting by dpa
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