German cabinet backs extension of Afghan mission

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BERLIN, Nov 7 (Reuters) Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet today approved an extension of Germany's Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) mission in Afghanistan, an unpopular deployment that will go before parliament later this month.

Under the one-year extension agreed by the cabinet, Germany would be able to deploy up to 1,400 troops, down from 1,800 in the previous mandate.

The deployment includes some 100 special forces that could be used in anti-terrorism operations and has been far more controversial here than the 3,500-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mandate that was renewed last month.

A parliamentary debate on the OEF mission is scheduled to begin tomorrow and is likely to be heated.

REUTERS PD BD1940

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