"Germany is prepared to continue to support Afghanistan, together with our international partners. Afghanistan, however, must do more to give this mission a realistic chance of success. Because the future of this country is not primarily in the hands of Germany, NATO or international donors. It is first and foremost in the hands of the Government of Afghanistan, and it hinges on the government’s efforts to unite this divided country," Steinmeier said in his address to soldiers and civilian personnel at Camp Marmal in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, adding that uniting Afghanistan is impossible without political talks that include Taliban.
The president pointed out that the presence of international forces in Afghanistan cannot be regarded as political settlement.
"It is your job to create both time and space for a political settlement, one that Afghans themselves must both desire and work out. Nothing more – but also nothing less," Steinmeier explained.
Speaking of the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan national forces and the redeployment of the most of international troops stationed in the country, Steinmeier noted that no one expected it "to go smoothly," yet the process turned out to be "more rocky than was originally thought."
"We must admit to ourselves that some of our hopes for the transformation were too optimistic," Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday morning with an unannounced visit to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
There are currently some 1,000 German military personnel stationed in Afghanistan within the framework of the NATO-led mission Resolute Support.