BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany paved the way for its troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond an April 30 deadline that the United States last year agreed with the Taliban for the withdrawal of U.S. forces after nearly two decades of war.
Lawmakers approved late on Thursday a new mandate which allows the German military to keep up to 1,300 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO mission until Jan 31, 2022.
The current parliamentary mandate for the German operation expires at the end of March. The new U.S. government is still reviewing the 2020 agreement with the Taliban so it is not yet clear whether or for how long NATO troops will stay.
At the same time, Washington is pressing for a peace deal to end fighting between the government in Kabul and the Taliban. Talks between the Afghan sides in Qatar have stalled.
The German government has warned that a premature withdrawal of NATO troops could jeopardize those peace talks, adding that NATO troops would need to prepare for Taliban violence if they stay beyond the end of April.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Madeline Chambers)