Germany Balks at US Request for Troop Help

Call for reinforcements in southern Afghanistan outside 'point of focus'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 1, 2008 5:47 PM CST
A soldier of the Afghan National Army stands guard during a patrol in Musa Qala, Afghanistan - formerly a Taliban stronghold - in this Dec 15, 2007 file photo. In a subtle shift with profound implications...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Germany has rejected a request from US defense secretary Robert Gates for more troops to fight the Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan, Der Spiegel reports. German defense minister Franz Josef Jung prefers his troops remain in the country's north, in accordance with Germany's Afghanistan mandate—which says troops will only head south to aid allies in emergencies.

Germany chancellor Angela Merkel said a mandate change is “not up for discussion.” The US is sending 3,200 Marines to Afghanistan, but they will remain for only seven months, at which time Gates expects NATO allies—especially the Germans—to take over. But Gates and Jung hold opposing views: While Gates urges combat, Jung aims for “integrated security” and reconstruction.