Skip to comments.Germany failing to fight Taliban, US claims
Posted on 02/01/2008 11:47:25 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
Germany failing to fight Taliban, US claims
By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor, and Harry de Quetteville in Vienna
Last Updated: 12:43am GMT 02/02/2008
Nato has faced one of its greatest tests since the Cold War after America accused Germany of failing to fight the Taliban and urged Berlin to send more combat troops to Afghanistan.
Frontline: The latest news from Iraq and Afghanistan Nato troop numbers in Afghanistan Behind this disagreement between the two allies, disclosed in a "stern" exchange of letters between their defence ministers, lies a crucial dispute over "burden sharing" which threatens the credibility of the alliance.
German soldiers drive through Kabul: but the US say more combat troops are needed in Afghanistan The dispute over Afghanistan will be the dominant subject when the Nato leaders gather for a summit in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, in April. Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, is also due to visit Britain next week to discuss the issue.
All of Nato's 26 member states agreed to mount the mission in Afghanistan and 42,000 troops have been deployed in the country.
However, only four Nato members - Britain, America, Canada and Holland - have sent large numbers of soldiers to southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency is strongest. These countries, notably Britain with 7,800 troops, are conducting the lion's share of the campaign against the Taliban.
Germany has 3,200 troops in Afghanistan - but they are deployed in the relative safety of the north.
America has now asked Germany to send about 1,000 combat troops to southern Afghanistan. Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, made the demand in a letter to Franz Josef Jung, his German counterpart.
Mr Gates's missive was partially leaked to the German press, which described its contents as "unusually stern".
But Mr Jung, who replied with a "stern" letter of his own, said Germany's troops would continue to observe their parliamentary mandate. This imposes a limit of 3,500 troops, restricts the force to the safer areas of northern Afghanistan, other than in exceptional circumstances, and makes its primary role reconstruction and development not combat.
After its disastrous military history in the 20th century, Germany remains wary of joining any armed conflict.
advertisementBut unless more troops are sent to southern Afghanistan, other Nato countries might withdraw their contingents.
Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, has told Gordon Brown that his country will withdraw the 2,500 troops it has in the southern province of Kandahar unless other Nato countries contribute 1,000 troops.
If this happens, the Dutch government would come under pressure to do the same, leaving America and Britain to fight the Taliban with little help.
"The greatest threat to Afghanistan's future is abandonment by the international community," Richard Boucher, the US assistant secretary of state, told American senators this week. "Too few of our allies have combat troops fighting the insurgents, especially in the south."
Paul Cornish, the head of the international security programme at the Chatham House think tank, said that this dispute was "more serious" than any previous argument about burden-sharing.
"Nato is in operations now and the whole of Nato has made this commitment to Afghanistan, so why should it be mainly American and British and Canadian boys who are fighting and dying?
"This all goes back to the key question about the health and vitality of the trans-Atlantic security relationship. Here we are, in extremis, and other Nato member states just don't stump up the troops."
Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said: "It's been clear for some time that the patience of Britain and America was being tested by the lack of willingness of some of the biggest military powers in Europe to deploy in adequate numbers.
"Let's hope the Germans respond positively."
Huff and puff and wait this WAR out. Why should they fight?
I think it is time to pull our military out of Germany.
Easy fix...threaten to move Ramstein to Poland again. See what happens then....hell they’d raise a panzer division overnight!
We are there because they cannot do what needs to be done.
Sadly the majority if not all Americans are so blinded by political correctness that they are unable to identify the enemy.
The war is being lost - not won
Just wait us out. Hate to be in Kabul when that last heli leaves from the embassy roof.
Sad thing is that picture from Vietnam still gives the clintons and their ilk goosebumps of the evil kind. Now we are about to let them do it all over again.
Jeeze, the last time the German Army fought anybody, the US got all upset. Now they’re NOT fighting, and the US is all upset.
The remaining US troops are in germany because of logistic reasons and because the infrastructure is there. But no doubt if you want you can start to build all that in a different european country but then you have the problem that after five years or even less you might have to travel to another country and so on
I don´t think that this is a responsible way to handle US taxpayers money. But i can assure you beside some small towns in the middle of nowhere in germany nobody would care nowadays if the US troops leave or change his mind. That´s the sad reality.
The simple and sad fact is that a vast majority of people are against the war in Afghanistan and there is not even a majority within our parliament for more troops or going to the south. There is simply not a single party in my country that would support such a step not even my conservative party because they all fear the voters hard punishment for that step.
If you recall back in the summer, some of the terrorist in Germany were ordered to “attack something NOW”. Why? I think we had spooked all the bad guys out of their “training camps” and into Tora Bora where we proceeded to kick collective ass. Now if they could get the Germans who to an extent blocked an escape route to leave they could run. They knew that an attack, any attack, would have the Germans up in arms to get out now.
I think the German government is doing much more to help in the WOT, but, they must do it on the QT. JMHO
Too busy fighting homeschoolers and Christians, can’t be bothered to fight Taliban or Muslims.
It’s a pity we can’t get the Chinese to help us out. I think they would leap at the chance to get some experience for their army.
For too long we’ve shouldered everybody else’s problems. I see no reason to build anywhere else in Europe.
As a veteran I firmly believe in a strong military, but Germany was defeated in 1945 and Eastern Europe has nations that have joined NATO. It is time that they shift for themselves and Europe won’t do that as long as we are there propping them up militarily. Yes, I said propping them up - they haven’t had to come to grips with their own defense.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, eastern Africa, and northern South America should be our central concerns at this time. Subverting and deflecting the growing influence of Arab Islamists, not only terrorism but particularly the money coming out of Saudi Arabia to fund the spread of Wahhabism, ought to be our main concern.
When I was in the Navy during the early 80’s, the goal was to be the greatest Naval power on earth. By the early 90’s we had achieved that goal. Now we need to assert that power and maintain it. That means we must stop squandering money on areas of the world that are functioning democracies.
Yes, that would actually be a great thing - money aside, I really don’t want foreign military bases in Germany. And maybe we would invest more into the military then...aah, what a nice thought. Germany, free of foreign military and building up their forces...maybe some nukes...
Everything in apurely european context of course :)
NATO context. DAMN IT! :)
Ah! Now yer talkin’.
As far as i know are the remaining US forces in germany because you can reach these places you named easier cheaper and faster from here.
As i called it logistic reasons and given the fact that the infrastructure is there and germany is a political stable country these troops stay here to fight in the middle east or where ever you need. You also have a lot of legal advantages in terms of the use of airspace, your military in general and other smaller advantages remaining parts of the post war times. So i believe it is a mix of all these things why some troops are still here. Given the fact that we clearly do not need them anymore.
In the end it is a problem or a question that has to be answered in washington. (a financial and cost problem) and as a strong fiscal conservative i could really understand if the troops leave when there is a better or cheaper solution. It is US taxpayers money and i personally do not like paying taxes and i do clearly not like governments wasting my (or any other taxpayer) hard earned money.
Germany or the german people really play not a important role here beside the smaller towns i mentioned that would be hit hard if the remaining US troops leave germany.
This request was IMO a gift to Jung so he could score with the general population while the German Army slowly and sneakily starts to introduce fighting soldiers into the North of Afghanistan. There will only be ~250 soldiers for the North with a combat mandate, but to introduce them is a delicate issue anyways, because a majority of Germans does not believe in the Afghanistan mission, either because out of area missions are essentially against the Grundgesetz, or because there’s really nothing to get in Afghanistan for Germany, even if it should be a Democracy some day.
In that case I amend my earlier statement.
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