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New Afghan plan poses more danger to troops

DPA/The Local · 22 Apr 2010, 10:28

Published: 22 Apr 2010 10:28 GMT+02:00

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After meeting Wednesday in Berlin with Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, McChrystal praised the Bundeswehr’s contribution to the ISAF mission, saying its efforts had yielded “great success” in the north of the country.

“Germany remains a very important partner in our work in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the Afghan people had to be pushed towards shaping the future of their country.

McChrystal said the new strategy he has been promoting, using partnerships between foreign and Afghan forces, was essential to moving the country forward so that the international forces could eventually hand over responsibility.

The strategy means German troops will spend more time outside bases and partner with Afghan forces more frequently – a delicate issue in the wake of the recent deaths of seven Bundeswehr soldiers.

In an interview Wednesday night with broadcaster ARD, McChrystal said progress would be made only if the Afghan people got behind the government and its security forces. In the long run this would mean fewer attacks, fewer recruiting opportunities for Taliban insurgents, and fewer suicide bombers and booby-trapped explosives.

Asked whether Germany had to prepare itself for more deaths, McChrystal said:

“In short term, first of all, you have to expect to incur certain risks for a definite period. To go out and interact with the people also means a certain risk.”

But these were temporary risks that would bring greater security in the longer term, including to German soldiers, he said.

On Thursday morning, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to stay the course in Afghanistan despite the shock of the recent deaths. It would be “irresponsible” to withdraw Germany’s commitment to the international force, she said in a statement to parliament's lower house, the Bundestag.

“It would be ... a fallacy to believe that Germany would not be in the sights of international terrorism,” she said. Afghanistan would “sink into chaos and anarchy” and the result would be “far more devastating than the result of attacks of September 11, 2001.”

Merkel paid tribute to the seven soldiers recently killed in two separate attacks – one an ambush on Good Friday, which killed three, and the other a grenade attack on an armoured car last week, killing four.

She also criticised opposition demands for a fresh mandate for Afghanistan, insisting that all MPs had known in March when they voted to continue the military mission that there would be risks.

However, she also acknowledged mistakes had been made.

“There has been progress, there have been setbacks and our goals were partly unrealistically high or they were, in part, wrong,” Merkel said.

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Guttenberg, meanwhile, reiterated on Wednesday his recent forceful remarks vowing that Germany would stay in Afghanistan despite the recent troop deaths.

“We plan to keep taking responsibility for leadership, has we have taken it (in the past),” he said.

The mission was “dangerous, even very dangerous in parts,” Guttenberg said. He vowed therefore to “do everything we can, to provide the best possible protection and the best possible equipment,” to German troops.

McChrystal and Guttenberg laid wreaths together at the cenotaph for the Bundeswehr at the back of the Defence Ministry in Berlin, recognising the 43 German soldiers who have died in the conflict, including the seven killed in recent attacks.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:30 April 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Quoting from the article:

"...McChrystal said progress would be made only if the Afghan people got behind the government and its security forces. In the long run this would mean fewer attacks, fewer recruiting opportunities for Taliban insurgents, and fewer suicide bombers and booby-trapped explosives."

Therein lies the reason this war can never be won. The Afghan people will never support the Karzai government because they, like the rest of the world, knows that Karzai is thoroughly corrupt and that his "election" was a fraud. As for the Afghan security forces, they are a laughing stock.

The "nation building" in Afghanistan, a pipe dream of Bush, Cheney and the neo-cons, was doomed to fail from the beginning and has escalated into a full blown disaster. The only viable solution, in my view, is the Vietnam solution: declare victory and get out.
14:35 April 22, 2010 by dbert4
@Prufrock2010 - You OBVIOUSLY haven't been watching Fox News, we WON this one years ago. The Iraq "success" was modeled after this......victory!
15:47 April 22, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I would have to say that a corrupt democracy is a better starting point than no democracy at all. Corruption, you can clean. A theocracy, you can't.

It's our job to maintain the rule of law for these people long enough for them to fix their own house. It's as simple as that.
17:09 April 22, 2010 by wmm208
Dear Angela Merkel:

Whay are we here? What is our mission? Our pants are wet and we stained ourselves. Please help us.

-German soldiers
18:56 April 22, 2010 by freechoice
If slaughtering more people is considered as success...

God please help us...
19:49 April 22, 2010 by wmm208
There is a price one must pay for freedom.
21:08 April 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Peschvogel's here as wmm208. Rational discussion on this topic is effectively ended.
21:26 April 22, 2010 by wmm208
Prufrock2010 - The voice of keeping everyone in order and quiet because he is authority. Atcually, he has a small weenie so to compensate for his lack of "confidence" he makes demands and has "glass breaking" evening events to make a point...Typisch ego that is unbalanced because his ID has no comfort from his mommy.
21:36 April 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Quod erat demonstrandum.
22:00 April 22, 2010 by wmm208
Q.E.D. is irrelevant however you remind me of this lation saying...

Ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret

I know you dont know Latin that well, so i will say what it means. It means Shoemaker should not judge above the sandal. Du nicht verstehen? Am i making myself clear? Alles klar
01:39 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Do you work for Blackwater, peschvogel? You have all the right mental skills for the job, and you claim to be located in Wiesbaden.
02:29 April 23, 2010 by wmm208
No, not located in Hessen. Not in contracting. I am 10x smart than you. You are always trying to guess what i do, who i am, where i live. You want to be me. You pay higher taxes than me. Goldman Sachs will be around much longer than your petty existance.

BRUSSELS-New figures revealed that Greece's debt crisis is even worse than investors believed, delivering a fresh shock to European markets and all but ensuring that the International Monetary Fund and euro-zone countries will have to step in within weeks to bail out the country.

The European Union's statistical authority said Thursday that Greece's 2009 budget deficit-already yawning- was wider than Athens had estimated. Also Thursday, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Greece's debt rating.

After France, Spain and Italy were the main net notional movers in the prior week, the fear about the Eurozone continues, only this time spreading increasingly to the core. While the Italy move of over half a billion in net notional increase is not surprising, as many perceive the nation as the next weakest link after Greece and Portugal, the German spike is a little surprising, although less so when one considers the failed 30 year Bund auction yesterday. Not good....
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