Germany extends Afghan mission by 13 months
In this Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 photo provided by German ISAF, Germany's Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, left, speaks with German soldiers part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) during his visit in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/German ISAF)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:15AM EST
BERLIN -- Germany's Parliament has voted to extend the country's military mission in Afghanistan by 13 months.
Parliament approved the extension on Thursday by a vote of 435 to 111. The German contingent is being slowly reduced as the country prepares to bring all combat troops home by the end of 2014.
The new mandate foresees a drop from a current maximum of 4,500 troops to 3,300 troops, which are stationed primarily in northern Afghanistan.
Germany says even after the combat troops are gone the country will continue to provide Afghanistan with long-term non-military assistance.
The mission is generally unpopular in Germany but is supported by most political parties. Parliamentary approval is required annually.