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Send more troops to Afghanistan, NATO to Germany

world Updated: Feb 03, 2008 16:33 IST

NATO has urged Germany to send more troops to volatile southern regions in Afghanistan, according to a German newspaper report.

"Germany plays a leading role in northern Afghanistan and is doing an exemplary job. But I believe the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) could use more of this in other parts of Afghanistan," said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop in an interview with the Bild Am Sonntag newspaper, excerpts of which were released ahead of the publication of the paper on Sunday.

"I think all nations should show greater flexibility in the deployment of their forces," the NATO official stressed.

The US has asked Germany to offer more troops in the more dangerous southern Afghanistan but the request was rejected by the German government.

The government "has no plan" to change the German mandate in Afghanistan, Ulrich Wilhelm, chief spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, told reporters in Berlin on Friday.

"The government has made it clear that the existing mandate provides the basis for our engagement," he said.

The German soldiers should continue to focus their reconstruction, security and training missions in northern Afghanistan, he said.

Some 3,000 German troops are deployed in the relatively peaceful north Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF.