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Germany to Kick Ass in Afghanistan?

Hey, hey, believe it or not, Germany is getting tough at the Hindu Kush. The Bundeswehr started its biggest operation yet in Afghanistan. 300 members of the Quick Reaction Force support the Afghan Army against insurgents near Kundus. For the first time, infantry fighting vehicles with heavy firepower have been deployed.

Moreover, the German Army Inspector General Wolfgang Schneiderhan stated in a press conferences that "now is the time to carry out this escalation" because of the upcoming Afghan elections and increase in attacks against the Bundeswehr. He also announced that the rules of engagement are currently being revised. "Escalating" is a normal military term, but I am still surprised that a general is using this phrase in a press conference. It might have been the first time ever since WWII that a German general is publicly advocating an escalation.

I have written a bit more about this on Atlantic-Community.org and would appreciate your assessment of the impact on stability in Afghanistan and the German mindset. Some German papers were talking about a "psychological threshold" being crossed in Germany.

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Zyme on :

About time. I wonder why these steps have not been implemented in the past. The biggest majority of Germans is against the engagement anyway, but as nobody really cares to protest, the leadership could as well "escalate" the engagement. What I found rather odd was that - of all parties - the SPD has demanded the usage of attack helicopters, while an FDP member of the defense committee wanted Eurofighters to be deployed. Generally whatever you think of the usefullness of this war, it is a good opportunity to beef up combat experience and make the public get used to this kind of conducting politics. And I agree with former Army Inspector Kujat, who wants the government to deploy our PzH 2000 mobile artillery. Seems like just the tool to make short work of entrenched Taliban positions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmn22F7xq4

Pat Patterson on :

I can only express utter amazement that Germany is now congratulating itself on adopting a tactic that the US tried and discarded years ago. Basically better armed convoys that merely pass over the landscape but do not own it. And the fact that there is an argument concerning the use of attack helicopters vs Eurofighters is revealing in that they are not currently deployed and Germany must rely very reluctantly on the US for air cover. Now the test will come, since Germany is basically relying on advanced weaponry, when another 20 or 30 so guests at a "birthday party" are killed, and the photos end up on the nightly news. It is one thing to take casualties but the hallmark of an effective military is killing the enemy at numbers he cannot afford. And crossing that line where teenage boys realize their death and destruction impulses can be carried out legally and with the support of his society.

Zyme on :

"Now the test will come, since Germany is basically relying on advanced weaponry, when another 20 or 30 so guests at a "birthday party" are killed, and the photos end up on the nightly news." I believe that within our Army and defense ministry we are having a more daring propaganda which can greatly absorb public outrage on such occasions. The first foretaste could be witnessed only a few days ago, when German soldiers opened fire from their checkpoint upon an enclosing Afghan car which contained civilians. A teenager got killed - big reason for public outrage one might think, but wait, what did our news print? They published the statement of the Army's speaker, who actually said that "on his deathbed, the teenager blamed the Taliban for his death". Of course this did provoke a lot of mockery among the commenters, but hey, you can give it a try :D Apart from that, the relatives of civilians killed by Germans ALWAYS receive their "blood money". Are the Americans performing according to these rituals as well, or would it be too expensive? :)

Pat Patterson on :

Yes, Americans are indeed paying blood money but your example proves my point. The German military is still in a defensive crouch and is still in love with the idea of good casualties. Those that show up wearing beards, I (Heart) Osama t-shirts and yelling "...Daka, daka, daka." When Germany begins at least one of the two tactical actions of the ISAF and the US then I might pay attention. Long range patrols, holding isolated geographic points with small units or big unit, brigade sized at least, to seize strategic positions. Neither are as of yet in appearance. I'm not arguing that the German military can't do these things but rather that they have not and don't appear to have plans on doing so. But they do seem to have not gotten the message that wearing bull's eyes on the soldiers and its APCs will only attract interest not fend it off.

Zyme on :

You know, I believe our military widely overestimates the pacifist stream in our public. Today the main reason our people are concerned over Afghanistan is that OUR soldiers are in danger. Of course this danger is going to increase when they actively seek combat - BUT I don't think losses among the Afghans are a big issue here. They are considered to be a people warring no matter how the constellation changes (to avoid calling them barbarians). The argument is simply whether we should help them out of their misery or not. (with most believing we should leave them to their own ressources - hopefully this figure of speech is correct?)

Pamela on :

Yes, Zyme, your English is correct. Come to think of it, I don't think I've EVER read a language mistake by you.

Pat Patterson on :

It appears that one of the new German tactics is to ask the Americans nicely to bomb the Afghans back to the Stone Age!

Zyme on :

Like I said, all German reservation ceases the very moment they start to feel threatened themselves. These tanker trucks were assumed to be used for a strike against the camp and needed to be destroyed in time. To cover the issue up, they don't start an investigation until the locals have burried what was left over. The Washington Post article I linked to among the tips describes the situation quite credibly. I even assume that had the German colonel had means at his disposal to solve the issue without Nato assistance, he would have made use of them.

Don S on :

They are ALL civilians. Whether they are shooting at you or not, they are civilians. They are civilians even when they are driving a loaded fuel truck into the gates of your compound. The suicide driver is an 'unarmed civilian'. Always. There is simple answer to this problem however. Blame it on the American air support.

Zyme on :

Seriously Don, apart from the Left Party, nobody here denies the German Armed Forces the right to secure their lives. At the same time, most of the criticism in this case comes from abroad. I wonder why?

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