Skip to comments.Germany to remain in northern Afghanistan
Posted on 02/01/2008 1:30:02 PM PST by Clive
BERLIN - German troops are staying in the calmer northern regions of Afghanistan, the defence minister said Friday, despite pleas from Canada and the United States for more military muscle to help fight insurgents in the south.
"I have a clear mandate from the German parliament," German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung told reporters Friday.
"It consists of 3,500 soldiers serving along the northern border and only helping out in the south for a limited period of time, as needed."
Jung made the remarks in response to a letter from U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates seeking more substantial help in the volatile south of Afghanistan.
Troops from Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and the United States have borne the brunt of fighting the Taliban in the south, with support from Denmark, Romania, Estonia and non-NATO nation Australia.
Ottawa is looking to allies for 1,000 more troops and additional equipment for southern Afghanistan as Parliament debates whether to extend the Canadian military mission beyond February 2009.
Washington said it had no plans to send more U.S. troops beyond the decision last month to deploy 3,200 additional marines to Afghanistan, but promised to help Canada lobby other countries for reinforcements.
Gates has been trying to persuade NATO allies to contribute more to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, without much success.
According to Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper, the letter from Gates is 1 1/2 pages long and specifically asks Germany for helicopter units, infantry and paratroopers that could join the fight against Taliban militants in the south.
The refusal of Germany, along with France, Turkey and Italy, to send significantly more troops to the southern front lines has opened a rift within NATO. The issue is expected to feature prominently at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, next week.
In Ottawa, Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of defence staff, said NATO has plenty of troops in Afghanistan but there just aren't enough deployed in the south where the need is greatest.
"There is no job outside of the south where you actually need extra troops right now," Hillier told reporters. "In fact, there is contemplation all the time in military circles of 'Can you move troops from the rest of the country into the south where the need is most definite?"'
Most of Canada's 2,500 troops on the Afghan mission are in Kandahar province, birthplace of the extremist Taliban movement.
Hillier said Afghan President Hamid Karzai "has said Kandahar is the centre of gravity: as Kandahar goes, the rest of the country will go."
"And therefore that's where the need is right now - and the need is not in the north or the west or the northeast."
But Germany has shown little inclination to reallocate its troops.
"If friends need help, then we will respond with support for a limited time - as stipulated in our mandate," Jung said.
"But I think that our emphasis needs to remain in the north."
There was a positive response Friday from another NATO ally.
The Belgian government approved the deployment of four F-16 warplanes to join NATO's force in Afghanistan. The planes would be sent in September to work with Dutch F-16s already in Afghanistan.
The deployment will increase the number of Belgian troops serving with the NATO force to 480, up from the current level of 360.
Belgium is also scheduled to send a training team to work with the Afghan army in October. However, the total number of Belgian troops in Afghanistan is due to fall to 260 by the end of the year as it withdraws other units, including troops helping to manage Kabul airport.
The Dutch are also scheduled to bring home two of their six F-16 fighter jets from Afghanistan later this year.
"It's going to be up to the individual states to make decisions about allocation of resources," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington.
"I won't make a secret of the fact that we are encouraging all of our NATO allies to do everything they can in terms of contributing resources."
- With files from The Canadian Press
It’d be nice to close down operations in Germany and relocate them to a pro-American nation like Poland. This would help the Polish economy and harm the German economy. I don’t think a pro-Saddam nation like Germany, who is the largest European trading partner of Iran, is worth protecting. If Germany falls, a Tzarist Russia could ‘restore order’, without the threat of communist expansionism as before.
Darn! I didn’t realize they had moved! Poland and France have to be relieved.
I was wondering where they put it myself...
Sensitive missions against terrorist threat
In September 2007, the 3rd Company of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment went on Afghan territory to be part of Battalion french presence.
Sur un tel terrain d'opération la fonction sapeur démineur prend tout son sens.
On such a ground operation function sapper Minesweeper takes on its full meaning.
Présents depuis septembre au sein du BATFRA à Warehouse , les 47 légionnaires de la 3e compagnie du 2e REG sont confrontés en permanence à la menace terroriste.
Present since September in the BATFRA at Warehouse, 47 legionnaires from the 3rd Company of the 2nd REG are permanently confronted with the terrorist threat.
Ils savent qu'à tout moment, ils peuvent être la cible d'un attentat, au cours d'une mission à l'extérieur, mais également dans le camp par des tirs de roquettes.
They know that at any time they may be the target of an attack during a mission abroad, but also in the camp by rocketing.
C'est dans ce climat d'insécurité permanente que les légionnaires sapeur ont à cur de démontrer leur savoir-faire.
In this climate of insecurity that legionnaires fireman at heart have to demonstrate their expertise.
Au contact de la menace du danger
In response to the threat of danger
Les trois groupes de combat jouissent d'une grande autonomie dans leur travail.
The three battle groups enjoy considerable autonomy in their work.
Alternant les missions de ramassage dUXOs et les alertes avec les équipes EODD, les sapeurs d'assaut sont directement au contact de la menace EEI.
Alternating missions collecting UXOs and alerts with the teams EODD, the fire assault are directly in contact with the threat EEI.
Celle-ci peut prendre plusieurs formes : " suicide bomber " (véhicule suicide) ou encore " road side bomb " (mine artisanale sur le bord des itinéraires).
It can take many forms: "suicide bomber" (suicide vehicle), or "road side bomb" (artisanal mine on the edge of the routes).
Deux opérations majeures ont été menées par les unités allemande et française du BATFRA.
Two major operations were carried out by units of German and French BATFRA.
En appui de ces opérations, la section réalise des missions d'ouverture d'itinéraire.
In support of these operations, the section carries out missions to open route.
Les fantassins se déplacent ainsi sans risque et démontrent aux insurgés qu'aucune partie du terrain, même suspectée minée, ne leur sera concédée.
The infantrymen and move safely and demonstrate to the insurgents that no part of the field, even suspected mined, will not be granted.
Des équipes en VBL, équipées du matériel génie strictement nécessaire, appuient également les pelotons de lERI dans leurs différentes missions de reconnaissance et de contrôle de zone sur la plaine de Shamali ou de la Deh Sabz.
Teams in VBL, equipped engineering strictly necessary, also support platoons of the ERI in their various reconnaissance missions and control zone on the Shamali plains or the Deh Sabz.
Au profit des OMLT
For the benefit of OMLT
Le groupe OT, quant à lui, a travaillé sur le site dobservation de Pompelle qui domine laéroport de Kaboul en mettant en place des murs de protection.
The group OT, meanwhile, worked on the site observation Pompelle which dominates the Kabul airport by setting up walls of protection.
Puis, au profit des OMLT ( Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team ) au sud-ouest de Kaboul, le groupe a amélioré la protection de la zone vie de la Fob Airborne (troupes américaines).
Then, for the benefit of the OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team) southwest of Kabul, the group has improved the protection of the life of the zone Fob Airborne (American troops).
A mi-mandat, les légionnaires savent qu'ils vivent une expérience extraordinaire, de par les missions qu'ils réalisent, mais également au travers du contexte dans lequel ils évoluent au quotidien.
A mid-term, armyworms know they live an extraordinary experience, because of the missions they perform, but also through the context in which they operate on a daily basis.
“Don’t mention the war!”
Faulty Towers reference...
NATO is dying as far as I’m concerned.
I’m from Denmark. Our troops has been fighting in the Helmand province for eighteen months now. We lost five killed last autumn alone and we expect to lose even more this year. That’s few fatalities (fortunately) compared to other countries. However the attitude displayed by some countries is just so pathetic!
Example: Sweden and Norway have troops in Afghanistan too. Up north. I read the headlines of Swedish and Norwegian papers every day. Afghanistan get headlines whenever their troops are involved in a firefight. Afghanistan get headlines in Denmark, whenever one of our troops are killed or seriously wounded.
Whatever arguments the Germans and other countries vacating up north use for not committing troops to the south, I find it difficult to understand them.
If they don’t want to risk their lives of their soldiers and rather leave the fighting and dying to the soldiers from other countries, then at least have the courtesy to be honest about. Don’t come up with all sorts of excuses to stay out of harms way.
I fully understand the bitterness of the Dutch and Canadian governments in particular. I’m pretty bitter myself!
No, NATO is dying. It’s alliances between countries that matters now.
The French did move combat aircraft, but not la Légion étrangère, to Kandahar,
The main reason for Germanys reluctance is the lack of political support by the parties and the people. Germany´s government is a coalition of the two bigger parties - each of them eager to form a new government without the current partner. So the first who moves and says “yes, let´s send more troops” will lose, since the Germans oppose the Afghanistan mission. It´s a sorry situation for the armed forces, for NATO and for the long-term security interests of Germany.
Agreed...short term thinking.
Souls we got - it’s a lack of politschiks with guts.
This guy is an actor.