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German Chancellor Angela Merkel Visits Afghanistan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her first visit to Afghanistan on November 3 and said Berlin remained committed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction. Speaking with President Hamid Karzai at a join press conference, Chancellor Merkel pledged to increase efforts to strengthen the Afghan National Police and bolster the 42 German trainers currently serving in Afghanistan. "We should further strengthen our efforts in building up the police," said Chancellor Merkel. The Chancellor also assured President Karzai that Germany would be contributing additional Tornado planes.

President Karzai expressed the gratitude of the Afghan people for Germany’s contributions to peace and security in Afghanistan. "We must all try, the international community and Afghanistan together, to enable further the abilities of Afghan forces in numbers in training and in equipping, that is the answer," said the President. President Karzai called on the international community to help "expedite and energize" the Afghan security forces in their fight against terrorism.

Following her meeting with President Karzai, Chancellor Merkel met German soldiers at the Kabul headquarters of ISAF, and toured the headquarters of German troops in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Last month the German parliament voted to extend authorization for Germany's contingent of 3,150 military personnel serving with ISAF in Afghanistan. 26 German soldiers serving under NATO's command in Afghanistan have died while serving in Afghanistan.

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