Germany about to extend its participation in U.S.-led war on terrorism

Germany will commit its forces to the U.S.-led anti-terrorism Operation Enduring Freedom for another year, a government spokesman affirmed Monday, a mission under which German ships patrol the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa.

Outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Cabinet will meet Wednesday to extend the country's participation until Nov. 15, 2006, spokesman Bela Anda said. Parliament must approve the extension in a session to be held Nov. 8, a week before the current mandate expires.

Both of Germany's main parties support the mission, launched after the Sept. 11 attacks, meaning the extension should pass easily.

Several hundred Germans have been involved in anti-terror patrols off the Horn of Africa, in the eastern Mediterranean and off Gibraltar. The mandate allows up to 3,100 Germans to take part in the mission.

German special forces have also fought with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, though the Enduring Freedom mandate does not include Germany's contribution to the multinational security force in Afghanistan, where it has about 2,000 troops.

The outgoing parliament extended the mandate for that deployment in September, the AP reports.