Obama Thanks Germany for Work in Afghanistan
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 7, 2011 President Barack Obama today praised Germany for its role in helping the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan lay the groundwork to “turn a corner” in transitioning to an Afghan security lead there.
Speaking during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama said the two leaders discussed important security progress made in Afghanistan during their White House meetings today.
“We’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum, trained Afghan security forces, and are now preparing to turn a corner in our efforts” as Afghans assume increasing security responsibility, he said.
The United States will begin reducing U.S. forces in Afghanistan this summer, “even as we join with German and other NATO allies in supporting Afghans in their political and economic efforts to forge a lasting peace,” Obama said.
Merkel shared the president’s view that an integrated security approach in Afghanistan must emphasize civil as well as military capabilities. She also emphasized Germany’s commitment to working with the United States and other coalition members to ensure Afghanistan’s success.
“We wish to go in together, out together,” she said. “Afghanistan will need our support, however, in the long run. So we will not abandon them.”
Obama said U.S.-German cooperation in Afghanistan reflects a close partnership built over decades.
“We see our partnership in the courage of our servicemembers who stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan, where Germans serve under Americans and Americans serve under Germans,” he said.
“I want to thank you and the German people for your strong commitment to this vital mission,” Obama told Merkel, recognizing the sacrifices made by the entire coalition.
“Our hearts go out to the wounded warriors and all their families, American and German and others, whose loved ones have given their lives to keep us safe,” he said. “We remember and honor them all.”