Berlin: Germany's lower house of parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to extend the country's military presence in Afghanistan but aimed to slash troop numbers to 3,300 by February 2014.Members of the Bundestag voted by 435 to 111 with 39 abstentions to keep a maximum of 4,400 troops in the war-torn region until next February. The maximum level was reduced by 500.
Germany has agreed with its NATO partners to gradually pull combat forces out of the country by the end of 2014 as Afghan troops assume more responsibility for security.
But it plans to maintain a military presence from 2015 assisting Afghan forces. "We know that our soldiers alone cannot solve the political and military conflicts in Afghanistan," Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters after the vote.