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US needs Germany in Afghanistan: Clinton

The United States needs German forces to help fight insurgents and stabilize Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

world Updated: Feb 04, 2009 09:40 IST

The United States needs German forces to help fight insurgents and stabilize Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"As President (Barack) Obama has made quite clear, we need our closest allies, like Germany, to help us ensure the success and stability of the Afghan nation at this very important moment," said Clinton.

Obama has singled out Afghanistan as his main front in the war on terrorism and plans to deploy 30,000 more US troops there over the next 18 months.

Germany last year increased to 4,500 the number of troops it has in Afghanistan, where they form part of NATO's 50,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

"I conveyed to the foreign minister this afternoon our deep appreciation for everything Germany has done for the people of Afghanistan and for its continued commitment to this important effort," Clinton told reporters.

"We have had an excellent and broad discussion," she said, commenting on her second meeting with a foreign dignitary since she was sworn in as secretary of state.

Steinmeier focused his comments to reporters on the transatlantic alliance, the Middle East and Iran, sidestepping Afghanistan.

However Clinton alluded to Steinmeier's "constructive" input when asked what she expected of Germany in Afghanistan.

"We talked about the range of needs that Afghanistan has," Clinton said.

"And I appreciate Frank's very constructive advice about what is possible and how we can ensure that our approach toward Afghanistan will be as unified and constructive as we can make it.