According to an article in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Germany spent €16.7 million more in 2006 than the previous year, with most of the money going to support the country’s participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.
Germany has some 3,200 troops in northern Afghanistan and in Kabul but Berlin has resisted pressure from NATO allies to deploy its forces in the south of the country where US, British and Canadian soldiers are bearing the brunt of a tenacious Taliban insurgency.
Germany’s Afghanistan mission carried a price tag of €466.9 million in 2007, not including the Tornado reconnaissance jets with added another €48.4 million to the total cost.
The paper, drawing on a report from Germany’s defence ministry, said the Bundeswehr spent €127.3 million on new equipment for soldiers last year, including protective gear for vehicles, almost all of which are now equipped with jamming equipment to protect against electronic explosive devices.
The defence ministry also spent €360,000 to fight Mongolian gerbils and get rid of their nests, since the rodents often transmit dangerous diseases to humans.
The Bundeswehr’s foreign missions are still controversial in Germany, where a strong pacifist streak still runs through society.