From Spiegel: Berlin has announced it will send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan, plus an additional 350 soldiers as a “flexible reserve,” and will contribute €50 million towards a program to reintegrate Taliban fighters. It’s Germany’s answer to calls for more troops at the London Afghanistan conference on Thursday.

The German government, facing pressure from its NATO partners to pledge more troops for Afghanistan, said on Tuesday it will offer to send an additional 500 troops, plus 350 soldiers as a “flexible reserve,” and will double reconstruction aid.

Speaking two days ahead of the London Afghanistan conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin will also provide €50 million ($70 million) to a €350 million international fund to persuade Taliban insurgents to lay down their arms, and will almost double annual development aid to €430 million from the originally planned €220 million…

“This will be a new approach in the future, namely protecting the population and training Afghan soldiers in one go. This is a much more defensive approach, for which the German army’s offensive capacities will be rearranged,” Merkel told a news conference. (photo: DPA)