Ahead of the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has called for ‘reconciliation’ with the Islamist terror militia Taliban. The German Defense Minister made those statements while visiting German troops stationed in Afghanistan over the weekend.

The call for reconciliation comes after a series of deadly terror attacks carried out by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In late January, the Taliban suicide bombers detonated an ambulance packed with explosives into a crowded Kabul street, killing more than 100 people.

The German olive branch also comes at a time when the Trump administration is intensifying the military pressure on the Taliban. Last month, U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress dropped a ‘record number’ of bombs on Taliban bases. The U.S. Forces carried out a 96-hour air strikes hitting terrorist training facilities and Taliban revenue sources such as drug trafficking.

“Von der Leyen called for reconciliation with the Taliban,” reported the Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel on Monday:

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen landed in Kabul on a visit to Afghanistan and urged the Afghan government to carry out reforms and [seek] reconciliation with the radical Islamic Taliban. “Where I want to see more progress, would be in political process and that is the most decisive of all,” the Minister said in Kabul on Monday.

The people in the country have to feel that the government is implementing reforms. The upcoming parliamentary elections in spring are important in this context. The minister lauded Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s steps to offer peace talk to the Taliban that are “willing to renounce violence and respect the constitution.” [translation by the author]

The German Defense Minister’s statement was fully in line with the Merkel government’s long-standing policy towards the Taliban. Last year, the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel revealed his involvement in negotiations with the Afghanistan-based Islamist terror group. “We are involved in finding a political solution between the hostile camps,” the outgoing Foreign Minister Gabriel told German reporters last summer.

After 17 years and $1 trillion spent, some 10,000 U.S. troops and 1,000 German Bundeswehr soldiers are left in Afghanistan, many of them involved in training an Afghan National Army.

While the Taliban has been regrouping and rearming in the countryside, the Afghan National Army has been plagued with desertions, corruption and lack of combat morale—leaving basic the task of maintaining security to the U.S. and NATO forces.

In light of these catastrophic failures, Germany’s right-wing AfD has been opposed to Merkel government’s decision to extend the Bundeswehr’s mission to Afghanistan. Despite AfD’s objections Germany will be raising the number of troops in Afghanistan from 980 to 1,300 during the course of the year.

“And now… Defense Minister you again want to send German soldiers on a rescue mission to Afghanistan, while Afghan refugees drink coffee in [Berlin’s posh] Ku’Damm square instead of helping to rebuild their country.” AfD leader Alexander Gauland said during a parliamentary debate last year.

In 2017, nearly 250,000 Afghan refugees applied for asylum in Germany alone.

With the Afghan men are leaving their country in droves, seeking better lives in European welfare states, its left to the men and women of the U.S. and NATO allies to defend Afghanistan.

Video: US drops record number of bombs on Taliban in Afghanistan

[Cover image via YouTube]