The German defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer landed in Afghanistan Friday for a surprise visit to the country's troops there. The minister said that Germany is ready to ''continue supporting Afghanistan during its peace process,'' the defense ministry said in a written statement.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new draft mandate that would enable German troops to stay until January 31. The current mandate for Afghanistan ceases at the end of March.
Earlier this week, the German government prepared the roadmap for the country's troops in Afghanistan to stay in place until next year if needed. German troop deployments overseas require parliamentary approval, which is typically granted on an annual basis.
NATO has just under 10,000 troops in the war-ravaged country, helping to train and advise Afghan security forces. Germany's contingent of nearly 1,100 is the second-biggest in the Resolute Support mission after the United States.
"Afghanistan urgently needs perspectives and a balance in the society of the warring groups," Kramp-Karrenbauer said. "Our soldiers are contributing an important part together with our allies especially in the north.'' The defense minister arrived in Mazar-E Sharif to visit with German troops.