Jung: Germany must increase troop levels in Afghanistan

German Defence Minister Franz-Josef Jung said on Thursday the Bundeswehr must increase the number of troops it has in Afghanistan so Germany can lead a NATO rapid reaction force starting July 1.

Jung: Germany must increase troop levels in Afghanistan
Jung inspecting troops headed to Afghanistan. Photo: DPA

Jung didn’t name specific numbers, but said in an interview with German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that an increase would “very clearly” need to be approved by parliament before the summer recess. However, he said there were no plans to deploy German soldiers in the turbulent south of the country despite calls from Berlin’s NATO allies to do so.

Jung said the parliamentary mandate for the Bundeswehr would continue to support Tornado reconnaissance flights “for all of Afghanistan” and that some 37 percent of those were over the south, where mostly American, British, Dutch and Canadian forces are fighting the Taliban and their Al Qaida allies.

There are currently 3,500 German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. The Financial Times Deutschland reported on Thursday that the government planned to increase that number to 4,800. Parliament has raised the limit on the troop deployment several times since the beginning of the NATO mission in 2001.