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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

An Envoy to Afghanistan/Pakistan; the New National Must-Have

Richard Holbrooke has responsibility for Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Americans, so not to be outdone, Germany now appoints one of its own. Bernd Muetzelburg, is his country's first special envoy to the region. Deutsche Welle reports;

The former ambassador to India, who was appointed on Monday as a special Foreign Ministry envoy, will meet his US counterpart Richard Holbrooke to discuss international strategy issues, the German Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Germany has the third largest troop deployment in Afghanistan, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force there. Berlin announced Monday 16th February 2009 that the 3,500 German troops are to be supplemented by a further 600 ahead of Afghan presidential elections August 2009.

During a meeting with a Pakistani diplomat while reporting for the Spectator during Pakistan's 2008 elections the diplomat in question told me that Pakistan has for some time felt that NATO troop deployment in Afghanistan was highly inadequate. So it will be interesting to watch the effect of an additional 17,000 combined US military and support staff being sent into the country, as announced by Barack Obama.

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