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Kunduz governor calls Bundeswehr 'ineffective'

DPA/The Local · 15 Jan 2010, 09:30

Published: 15 Jan 2010 09:30 GMT+01:00

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Mohammad Omar said that additional US forces would help ease the worsening security situation in the region.

“We have an enemy and know that they want to kill us,” he said in reference to the Taliban. “Our [German] friends observe this but don’t save us. So we must ask our other [American] friends to save us.”

Last week a study for German broadcaster ARD, along with US broadcaster ABC and the UK's BBC, found that Afghans’ opinion of Germany had been damaged significantly in the last year. About 1,100 of Germany's 4,300 troops in the country are stationed in the north as part of the NATO mission, and the Bundeswehr is generally considered to be responsible for safety in the area, but the report showed the Germans were not as well-regarded as they used to be.

However, Omar defended the Bundeswehr troops for their role in a controversial September 2009 bombardment that left some 142 dead, including many civilians. He said it had been “right” because there were insurgents involved and that the German government was not allowing the Bundeswehr to do its job.

“The parliament doesn’t want soldiers to be killed when fighting insurgents,” he said, adding that the improvements to the region were due only to US and Afghan operations, and the Bundeswehr should leave the job up to “more effective countries.”

But Bundeswehr spokesperson for Kunduz operations Jürgen Mertins said that troops there were working well with Afghan forces.

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“In the last months we’ve conducted a number of operations in the Kunduz region together with the Afghan side. We believe that through this the security situation in the Kunduz region has significantly improved,” he said.

Mertins added that it was “understandable” that the governor would want more US troops. Among the 30,000 additional US troops promised by President Barack Obama, some 3,000 will reportedly be stationed in Kunduz.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:16 January 15, 2010 by B-Squared
I have no doubt that the German soldiers in country wish they could do more to assist the Afghan people, but as usual, politicians "know what's best" though they're thousands of miles removed from the situation.
10:46 January 15, 2010 by michael4096
As always when a politician asks for change, the question is: what is his agenda? Does he really think that the locals will be better of under Americans? Or, does he think that he will be better of under Americans because the money is distributed differently or because the Americans back his faction more than the Germans.

I don't know the answer, just asking the question.
13:31 January 15, 2010 by auniquecorn
Of course they´re ineffective, And a big waste of german tax money. they won´t even go out the gate on patrol unless the american drones show them theirs no activity in the area. then they go out about 1 Km, take pictures of themselves and run back inside.

the Americans will patrol 24/7 thats what the governor of the northern Afghan province of Kunduz wants.
14:01 January 15, 2010 by Jibzy
@Auniquecorn: Thats what i want too my friend. This is America's war..why should Germans..or ANYONE for that matter..give their lives..just so that you can keep bullying the rest of the planet? No babes..that aint happenin!
14:10 January 15, 2010 by auniquecorn
are you really from Pakistan and living in Berlin?, Why the hell ain´t you defending your own country?
15:32 January 15, 2010 by dbert4
I think that, "michael4096" has it right and that, "auniquecorn" deserves his bad reputation.

And "jibzy" how do you see what's happening in Pakistan?
15:51 January 15, 2010 by B-Squared

Bullying.....hmmm that's funny, until you look at the facts. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) calculated that in 2008 the US spent about 25 BILLION dollars in foreign aid. 309 million dollars was spent last year in Haiti alone. Plus, President Obama has pledged 100 million dollars after their recent earthquake. And if you add up American company contributions, they total more than most COUNTRIES are pledging to help the Haitian people.

It's best to keep you mouth closed and look smart, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
16:36 January 15, 2010 by DavEd
The German Parliament is the number one problem:

1) German troops are restricted from engaging in combat operations unless attacked, and then they may use only bare minimum force to defend themselves--not Afghan civilians. The Taliban and al-qaeda know this.

2) Germany views the Afghanistan problem as a "police action" not as a war.

QUOTE: "This is America's war.." Please review the NATO Treaty article 5.

In my personal opinion, Germany is about as useful an ally as two teats on a boar hog.
17:06 January 15, 2010 by bernie1927
Guys: After all the nasty comments, why don't you get real: Germany is still being treated as a second class nation by the former allies: No peace treaty, no membership in the security council, constant bitching about the Wehrmacht etc. etc. But when it comes to cleaning up the mess that they caused, then Germany is good enough to help. Is that fair? If I were a German citizen, I would not do anything to help until these problems have been solved first. It's okay to help train the Afghans to take care of their own problem but that's as far as it should go.
17:46 January 15, 2010 by michael4096
The German presence in Afganistan IS a police action. Wars are when armies in different uniforms face off - not when a impressionable teen is talked into blowing himself up and taking others with him. We haven't got a War - that's just Bush&co rhetoric.

Show the population that there is a real alternative to violence and corruption and they will choose it. They are as sick of this as everybody else - the british, the warlords, the russians, the taliban and now the germans - the kids have been brought up at the end of a gun for centuries and we are surprised that some resort to violence.

Maybe the germans there should get out and about more but not on Rambo missions.
17:46 January 15, 2010 by maxbrando
Germans really want to be "blauhelms", and serve as crossing guards; ride around in white Mercedes-Benz SUVs (with tinted windshields), and pretend that they are important - and cannot be touiched because they report to a superior authority. They have never helped anyone that I can remember. Except in the '67 war, when the FRG contributed 5,000 gas masks to the Israeli government. The German government is a joke, and Mrs. Merkl is certainly no Margaret Thatcher. A country of sissies dominated by females
18:30 January 15, 2010 by Major B
Waiting for some good responses. Come on, dig in. Don't accept this. Where are you Frenemy? Celeon? O.K. some will say Germany "pull out" but is that the real answer?
22:14 January 15, 2010 by wxman
At one time or another we have all, myself included, spoken of the evils of the Nazi regime 65 years ago. On the other hand, thisis what you get when you reject militarism. Let's face it, we've been successful. The Bundeswehr is no Wehrmacht.
23:31 January 15, 2010 by Thames
Germany is only there because Washington told them they had to be there. Germany has no real interest in that country. The British, Russians and Americans have made the mess, let them clean it up. But a truely free Germany is not morally bound by NATO. Germany was an occupied country when they agreed to the NATO treaty. Keep this in mind: The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, famously stated the organization's goal was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down". Germany will never be an equal partner in these ventures so why should Germans die? Furthermore, the insults of Mohammad Omar or any of these other so called Afghan are laughable. They can't lead their own people and most are only America's friends as long as America is paying them.
02:54 January 16, 2010 by CPT/USA
I have to laugh when I read how Afghanistan is 'America's war/ Bush's war".

How many western countries were "attacked" by islamic terrorists from the middle east? How many people from how many countries died in the World Trade Center attacks?
03:56 January 16, 2010 by Bushdiver
@ Jibzy You're an idiot first of all. Secondly the Bundeswehr is no Third Reich. Regardless of what happened 65 years ago the German military was a military power in those days. Today it's just a shadow of once was. The same could be said of the US Military as well. Most Americans would probably say that todays military is much better than it was during WWII. I personally don't agree with that. Technology has improved but not your average soldier.
05:32 January 16, 2010 by wenddiver
Nothing wrong with the men of the Bundewehr, just a crummy government that can't decide if it is a full partner in a large defence alliance or a NATO colony bordering the old COMBLOC.

I am reminded however of the not inconsiderable risk the Western powers took to keep the Nuclear armed Russians out of the Bundesrepublik. I wonder if the Americans and Brits had offered 500 soldiers and confined them to teching police how the Germans would have thought about that?????

I was always amazed how they could rationalize the literal rape of the German women in the East and the wholesale murder of their men in the prison camps, the shooting of their own people on the Berlin wall by the Soviets and German Left.

Obviously the Engkish speaking peoples are not owed any acknowledgement of their contributions to German Democracy and recovery, let alone fulfilment of Germany's Nato treaty obligations.
10:34 January 16, 2010 by wood artist
I think the problem is a bit different than many seem to believe.

The military, regardless of what country it represents functions in a very simple way. They are given a mission, and expected to carry it out. That's a political decision.

However, when they are given a mission that doesn't match their capability, they struggle. Such is the case here. Fighting a terrorist force is more akin to police work. The military is designed, and trained, to fight a war. When the enemy is buried amongst the civilian population, and seldom engages in open warfare, it is difficult for a military force to be effective.

The enemy, in this case the Taliban and other terrorists, have managed to design a conflict for which there is no easy answer. We...the NATO allies...are fighting not only on their ground, but by their rules, and that makes it tough. Personally I have no doubt that the German forces are trying to do their best under difficult circumstances. Any failure, setting aside the questions about the now-famous gasoline tanker episode, is one of mission.

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