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More German Support for Iraq and Afghanistan?

Reuters reports:
A German government spokesman was quoted on Monday [November 13, 2006] as saying Berlin could expand its programme of training Iraqi border guards, but he gave no indication it would consider sending troops to Iraq. (...) Germany has helped Iraq by forgiving some Iraqi debt and training Iraqi military and police officials in the United Arab Emirates. The Iraqi government would have to formally request more help from Germany, and further German assistance would require an improvement in the security situation, Steg said. (...)
Germany has contributed around 9,000 troops to peacekeeping missions in places like Afghanistan, the Middle East and Congo.  Germany has some 2,800 soldiers stationed in the relatively calm northern part of Afghanistan, though the United States and Britain have put pressure on Berlin to send combat troops to the more dangerous southern part of the country. So far Berlin has resisted this pressure and refused to re-deploy troops to the south. Adding to the pressure on Germany, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer wrote in an opinion article in the Berliner Zeitung that individual NATO members should scrap the restrictions they have imposed on Afghan peacekeeping work.
DW World writes about growing pressure for Germany to do more in Afghanistan:
The UN representative in Afghanistan Tom Koenigs, warned that NATO and especially German forces must step up efforts to keep the strife-wracked country from sinking into chaos. Koenigs told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the international troops serving in Afghanistan had reached a key crossroads.  "The conflict cannot be won by military means alone but NATO must not lose it," he said, calling for an "enormous military effort" against insurgents in the country. He said that while diplomatic and humanitarian aid was essential, attacks mounted by the hard-line Taliban movement and other militants had to be stopped. "Otherwise the entire NATO alliance is absurd and not usable for peacekeeping in the Third World," he said.
"Germany must increase efforts further."  Koenigs, a German citizen, called for German troops to join NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the violence-plagued south of Afghanistan.  Amid growing pressure for Germany to help stabilize the region, the German military said Wednesday that 21 signals corps soldiers had been deployed to southern Afghanistan in mid-October for two months.
Moving more German troops from the North to the South of Afghanistan could destabilize the North. Stabilizing Afghanistan requires more than 'just' fighting the Taleban. That's why reconstruction has to be accelerated. (See the related post Afghanistan Intervention "on the cheap.") The combat operations in South Afghanistan have caused many civilian casualties and alienated many Afghans, which harms NATO's interests rather than promoting stability. In September 2006, The Times reported that a "top soldier quits over 'grotesque' Afghan war":
"The former aide-de-camp to the commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan has described the campaign in Helmand province as "a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency". "Having a big old fight is pointless and just making things worse," said Captain Leo Docherty, of the Scots Guards, who became so disillusioned that he quit the army last month. "All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British," he said. "It's a pretty clear equation -- if people are losing homes and poppy fields, they will go and fight. I certainly would. We've been grotesquely clumsy -- we've said we'll be different to the Americans who were bombing and strafing villages, then behaved exactly like them."


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Chris on :

Don't discount how important it is to back up your words in counterinsurgency as well. You need a sense of permanence, reliability, efficacy and then the moral high ground -- if practicable.

Anonymous on :

Before the United States asks Germany to fight in South Afghanistan, the Bush administration should put the screws on Musharraf, who is considered a friend, ally and partner in Washington. Pakistan should stop supporting the Taleban in North Pakistan and South Afghanistan. That's the key. Before that is done, it is not worth it to risk any soldiers life in fighting in South Afghanistan. The Bush administration has not been serious in the war on terror. Pakistan does not act like an ally, but still gets lots and lots of aid from Washington. Pakistan is the root problem here. Fighting the insurgents in South Afghanistan is just treating the symptoms.

Don S on :

Unlike our anaonymous friend here, Bush and the US have to live in the real world. You take allies where you can find them, and cannot design the perfect ally. Germans know this truth as well as anyone does - their endless complaints about the US prove it!

Don S on :

A rather vulgar comment by the late Lysndon Johnson comes to mind: "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in." This applies to at least two or three allies in the Muslim world....

Zyme on :

This applies to all "allies" in the muslim world, as they are not made to be allies. Allies use to have a comparable state of development. Thus the muslim countries only fit to be vassals. Allowing them to decide too much on their own is like seeding problems and waiting for them to grow.

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