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Merkel Pledges Continued German Support To Afghanistan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani take part in a press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin on December 5.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country will continue to support Afghanistan after NATO combat troops pull out at the end of the year.

Merkel was speaking in Berlin on December 5 at a joint press conference with visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Merkel said such future support would include training security forces and providing development aid.

Merkel said "Germany has a responsibility, especially for security in northern Afghanistan."

Ghani said Afghanistan is in talks with neighboring countries, including China, on a regional agreement on peace and security.

But he cautioned such talks were in "an early stage."

The two spoke hours after the German parliament voted to keep 850 soldiers in Afghanistan in 2015 to train local forces, making Germany one of the biggest contributors after the United States.

It also agreed to support Kabul with annual development aid worth 430 million euros.

Based on reporting by Reuters