Germany Signs a Long Term Afghan Agreement

Afghanistan and Germany on Wednesday signed a long-term agreement governing their relationship after German forces withdraw from the country in 2014, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel also making a financial pledge towards Afghan security.

The bilateral pact between the two nations was signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his German counterpart Merkel just days before the NATO summit in Chicago.

After the signing, Merkel pledged her country would make an annual payment of 150 million Euros (US$191m) beyond 2014 to help finance the costs of Afghan Security Forces.

Her announcement closely followed the pledge made by the Australian government Wednesday of US$100m per annum for three years, after 2014 for the same purpose.

The Karzai government welcomed the financial commitments, saying in a statement from the Presidential office that it appreciates them as a positive development and an investment towards global security.

“We welcome with thanks the announcement by Australia and Germany and encourage other countries to also come up with pledges for the sake of a sustainable Afghan National Security Force, capable of providing security on their own,” Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi, who is with the President in Germany, said. “Helping Afghan Security Sector is indeed an investment in global security,” the statement quoted Faizi saying.

Germany is the third largest contributor in terms of soldiers to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has signed similar agreements with the US, Italy, Britain and India. It is expected to sign one with Australia at the NATO summit.

The summit will see leaders from around the globe gather in Chicago on May 20-21 to discuss the future role of NATO in Afghanistan.

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