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And, yes, I DO take it personally: NATO, led by Germany, may be trying to get out of Afghanistan
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Saturday, April 05, 2008

NATO, led by Germany, may be trying to get out of Afghanistan

nothing to be found on this, naturally, in the u.s. media... it doesn't appear to be imminent but it looks like it's definitely under discussion...

from spiegel online...

So far, little has remained behind closed doors at the NATO summit in Bucharest. Almost every cough from every negotiating session has found its way into the press. But there is one paper that has remained largely in the shadows. NATO diplomats have been working on a far-reaching strategy paper for the ongoing mission in Afghanistan.

The secrecy, some say, is necessary as the dossier contains details that could compromise the safety of NATO troops in Afghanistan. Others have been a bit more direct, saying that the paper is simply too controversial to be made public.

According to diplomats, there are indeed some interesting details to be found. The paper illustrates a new train of thought developing within NATO: For the first time, a step-by-step outline has been sketched -- with substantial help from Germany -- for when the 47,000 NATO troops currently in Afghanistan might be pulled out. According to diplomats, concrete benchmarks are laid out -- though any withdrawl, they make clear, would not be immediate.

It is no accident that Germany has played a big part in the drafting of the paper. It has long been clear in Berlin that Germany's involvement in the mission has a limited shelf-life given widespread opposition among the German populace and growing doubts in parliament. Were there something of a "master plan" for the operation, politicians in the chancellery and defense ministry would be able to offer the prospect of German troops returning from Afghanistan. Benchmarks for what must be achieved before that happens could also be clearly defined.

every german casualty in afghanistan is heavily covered in the german media and german citizens, understandably, are pressuring the government to pull out...

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