Premature withdrawal from Afghanistan may hamper peace talks: Germany

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Palestinian counterpart al-Maliki meet in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – A premature troop withdrawal from Afghanistan may complicate peace talks between the government in Kabul and the Taliban, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday, commenting on U.S. plans to pull out 2,000 troops from the country.

“It remains very important for us not to jeopardize what we have reached so far by taking any rash actions,” Maas said.

The German government is in touch with Washington and the NATO alliance and is looking into what consequences the U.S. withdrawal would have for the around 1,200 German troops still deployed to Afghanistan as part of a larger NATO mission, he said.

“We are especially concerned how the U.S. announcement will affect the peace talks for Afghanistan,” Maas said, adding that the negotiations were already complicated enough and by far not completed.

“In this situation, we should not establish additional hurdles that a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan would certainly bring.”

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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