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Guttenberg says Taliban waging ‘war’ against German troops

AFP/DDP/The Local · 3 Nov 2009, 10:03

Published: 03 Nov 2009 10:03 GMT+01:00

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"Our engagement in Afghanistan has for years been a combat operation. But the feeling is – and not just among our troops – that the Taliban is waging a war against the soldiers of the international community," Guttenberg told daily newspaper Bild.

Guttenberg, who was sworn in last week as Germany's new defence minister following a general election in September, recalled that the law defines a war only as a conflict between two nations. But he also admitted the conflict in the strife-ridden country defied easy description.

"Certain traditional choices of words do not really work in the current situation. In parts of Afghanistan, there are, without question, conditions that are like a war," he said.

"I can understand any soldier who says, 'There is a war in Afghanistan. It doesn't matter if it is foreign forces or Taliban terrorists who are attacking, wounding and killing me'."

Germany, whose troops levels in Afghanistan he said had risen to more than 4,300 soldiers, will not shirk from its responsibilities in the country, the minister vowed.

"One day, the Afghans will have to be able to provide for their own security. Then our military task will have been accomplished," he said.

Guttenberg’s new choice of wording was welcomed by the association representing the interests of Bundeswehr soldiers.

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The group’s head, Ulrich Kirsch, told the Leipziger Volkszeitung that recognising the conflict in Afghanistan was a “war” showed Guttenberg was “measuring the pulse of the troops.”

“Soldiers facing combat each day in Kunduz, experiencing death and injury, and being forced to kill consider this situation to be war,” he told the paper.

AFP/DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:32 November 3, 2009 by Psypher
"War is the continuation of politics by other means." -Clausewitz
14:10 November 3, 2009 by Celeon
Thats one of the reasons why Jung was replaced by Guttenberg.

Jung's reputation in NATO worsened with many incidents like when u.s secretary of defense Robert Gates corrected him in front of journalists.

There was this famous press conference when a journalist asked Jung about the "war in Afghanistan" and Jung smiled and replied that there is no war in Afghanistan but just "a tactical situation" , you know this typical bureaucratese nonsense.

When the next question was directed at Gates he said "First of all , we ARE at war here"

Needless to say how embarrased Jung was. That was like a slap in the face, and that in front of all the media.

Im pretty sure that people within NATO and the Bundeswehr were already laughing about him behind his back.
15:14 November 3, 2009 by Psypher
Im pretty sure that people within NATO and the Bundeswehr were already laughing about him behind his back.
Fleeting amusement at the expense of bureaucratic idiots (past) aside...this really has nothing to do with political correctness or semantics.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that the way this ?tactical situation? is characterized/portrayed in Berlin directly translates into how much materiel support the guys on the ground in Afghanistan (and Pakistan?) actually receive....which in turn spells the difference between life and death.
21:35 November 3, 2009 by snorge
You guys talk all you want, but one thing you have no figured out is that if you don;t stop these people who are fighting a religious war in their own backyard, that violence is going to come here to OUR backyards. Wake up!!!

I spent 3 years there, and believe me when I tell you, they aren't just going to give it up and rollover....
21:44 November 3, 2009 by Psypher
You guys talk all you want, but one thing you have no figured out is that if you don;t stop these people who are fighting a religious war in their own…
naaaaa, no worries mate! People here tend to have a lot of faith in the good ol' Ostrich method of strategic defense <inserting head in sand now> :-D
22:09 November 3, 2009 by piper1
This is a conflict driven by the US.

They want the oil pipeline built to the coast and won't leave until they have the security to do so.

Nothing to do with terrorism, just you sheeple believe it because your boss (US) tells you it is.

The US will not pull out.. they never have and never will.

Once the US is on foreign soil, they stay.. name me one place where they withdrew ..

Even Somalia has a military base !

Cuba has a military base.....!

What the hell are they doing in Germany !..

Go Home Yank !
23:04 November 3, 2009 by Psypher
Once the US is on foreign soil, they stay.. name me one place where they withdrew ..
I'm not even American, but I feel compelled to defend historical accuracy.

Ok, ummm well for starters...France! Then more recently: Vietnam, Philippines, and Grenada (to name a but a few).
23:38 November 3, 2009 by finanzdoktor
Well, at least he has the guts to call it like it is. Although Secretary Gates called it a war, President Obama refers to any "war on terrorism" as "international contingencies." That definitely rings of "police action" or "tactical situation."
01:15 November 4, 2009 by Major B
Thanks Psypher for correcting the outright lies written by piper 1. The German govmt stood tall with the U.S in the days after 9/11/01, the country that supported it for decades and whose support was critical for German unification. Somebody will comment about the U.S. training the Afghan freedom fighters in the 80's, yeah, yeah. Just one more empty comment in the international blame game. And U.S military personnel have been drastically reduced in Germany in the past 15 years and now serve with Germany and others in common efforts for NATO. There aren't enough facts to support this revisionist nonsense
10:20 November 9, 2009 by Psypher
quick IMINT comment: why the hell are the guys in the picture wielding H&K G36-C's??? One would think that the Bundeswehr would shell out a few extra euros per unit to have German troops carry G36-A2's (take some damn pride in German engineering and "represent"!!).
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