- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

FRANKFURT (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an unannounced visit Monday to Afghanistan, where her country has almost 4,000 troops.

The government said the chancellor was visiting German military bases in the country. It gave no further details on the trip.

Germany has some 3,800 troops in Afghanistan, where they are deployed in the relatively peaceful north.

Germany’s ZDF television reported from the northern town of Kunduz that Merkel had arrived at a German base there. It was Merkel’s second trip to Afghanistan. She previously went there in November 2007.

Merkel stressed after meeting President Barack Obama on Friday that “we want to carry our share of the responsibility _ militarily _ in the area of civil reconstruction and in police training.”

She said the Obama administration’s approach to Afghanistan “complements fully what Germany has in mind, a comprehensive approach.”

The German troops serve under a mandate from parliament that allows the deployment of a maximum 4,500 soldiers.

In February, Merkel said Germany would send 600 extra troops in the run-up to elections there later this year.


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