German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, arrived in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Balkh province on Sunday, to send a message confirming Germany’s commitment to conflict resolution and economic development in Afghanistan, the DW said in a report on Monday.
Germany is part of the NATO’s Resolute Support mission to train Afghan security forces and has around 1,200 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, mostly in Balkh province.
“With the trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, we want to send a clear message: Germany is committed to the responsibility which we have assumed as the second largest donor and contributor of troops in Afghanistan,” said Maas as quoted by the DW.
There are discussions in Berlin on the future of the German mission, and parliamentary debate on extending the mandate for Afghanistan, the report said.
The minister has argued for Germany’s engagement in Afghanistan to continue, while there are other voices calling for an exit strategy, the report added.
The German mission is largely dependent on US infrastructure in Afghanistan. Washington has announced plans to withdraw a significant number of troops from Afghanistan.
The German minister said he sees this as the “start of a new phase,” saying “Peace is possible in Afghanistan,”
He said elections in Afghanistan is a sign of progress.
“The landmark presidential elections in Afghanistan are scheduled for July, and there has been movement in the quest for a peace process with the Taliban, also thanks to the US initiative,” he said as quoted in the report by DW.
Maas considered his journey “right now as an important and necessary sign”.
After Afghanistan, Maas will also visit Pakistan this week, the DW said in the report.