Germany eyes continued US backing in Afghanistan

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas believes the security of soldiers from his country cannot be ensured without continued support from the United States.

Ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he hoped for continued support of US troops in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration, stepping up the pullout of US forces from Afghanistan, announced last month the number of American troops would be cut from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

“It is important that the portion of American troops that are necessary for the security of German soldiers remain in Afghanistan,” Maas was quoted as saying.

In an interview with public broadcaster ZDF, the minister said in the absence of US support the security of German soldiers cannot be guaranteed.

Maas hailed reforms in the western alliance, saying proposals submitted at the NATO foreign ministerial meeting had a lot of substance.”

“We have to look after our own interests more, we’ll have to talk about what Europe can do for itself in its immediate neighborhood,” the minister told ZDF.

Maas believed German soldiers “cannot and should not stay in Afghanistan forever”. However, he stressed the withdrawal of foreign forces should be coordinated with peace talks.