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Germany concerned about Afghan security force size

February 17, 2012
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WASHINGTON—Germany's defense minister is raising concerns about a likely reduction of Afghan security forces after NATO ends combat operations in Afghanistan.

The issue reflects a debate within NATO. The Afghan army and police are scheduled to grow to more than 350,000 members by 2014.

But French defense minister Gerard Longuet recently suggested the number could fall to 230,000 to reduce costs.

German defense minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday in Washington that such a precipitous drop would leave a large number of NATO-trained police and troops unemployed.

He said: "What are we going to do, and who is paying for them?"

De Maziere discussed the issue in a meeting Thursday with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

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