Germany will help its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in the south of Afghanistan in the case of emergencies, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, stopping short of committing troops to help fight a Taliban insurgency.
``Of course, support will be provided in an emergency,'' Merkel told reporters after a meeting of NATO leaders in Riga, Latvia, today. What denotes an emergency situation was not part of the discussions, she said.
Merkel's comments followed a summit, the first in a former Soviet state, dominated by the war in Afghanistan, where NATO's International Security Assistance Force comprises 32,500 troops from 37 countries. President George W. Bush yesterday called on allies to make more troops available to fight the insurgency in the south of the country, while British Prime Minister Tony Blair said NATO's ``credibility is at stake'' in Afghanistan.
``We have the ISAF mandate and Operation Enduring Freedom,'' the U.S.-led response to the Sept. 11 attacks, which includes the campaign in Afghanistan. ``We have no intention of changing either of those but to do our work on the basis of those mandates,'' Merkel said.
Germany has 2,900 personnel in the northeast of the country, where they are mainly engaged in reconstruction and development work rather than frontline combat duty. Source...