German parliament votes to raise troop level in Afghanistan

21:45, February 26, 2010      

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Germany's parliament on Friday approved plans to send up to 850 additional troops to Afghanistan.

Lawmakers voted 429-111 with 46 abstentions to boost the maximum number of German troops in Afganistan to 5,350 from 4,500 to 5,350. The yes votes were 16 less than the previous mandate approved in December.

Under a government plan announced last month, Germany would deploy 500 extra troops to Afghanistan with more focus on training Afghan forces.

The new one-year mandate allows for another 350 extra soldiers to be deployed on flexible missions such as providing security for local elections.

During Friday's parliament debate, all lawmakers from the Left party stood and held up signs showing the names of those killed in an Afghanistan air strike ordered last September by a German commander. At least 140 people, many of them civilians, were killed in the strike on two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban.

President Norbert Lammert of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, ordered the protesting lawmakers to leave the chamber after they refused to sit down.

Source: Xinhua
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