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German Parliament Extends Afghan Mission

A German soldier wears a badge with his blood type as he prepare to depart on a multi-day patrol in Kunduz.
The German parliament today approved the deployment of German troops in Afghanistan until February 2012.

The motion was backed by 420 deputies in the Bundestag, 116 voted against and 23 abstained. The motion says German troops will start to come home from the end of 2011 if security allows.

Germany can continue to deploy up to 5,350 soldiers in Afghanistan.

With 4,860 soldiers currently there, Germany is the third-largest contributor of foreign troops in Afghanistan after the United States and Britain. Most German troops are based in the north of the country.

Since the U.S.-led military operation began in 2001, 45 German soldiers have died in Afghanistan, and the mission is unpopular with the German public.

compiled from agency reports