The Germans purchased the beast of burden for the equivalent of about €70 at a local market to help carry weapons and ammunition across rice fields in the unstable Char Darah district.
“Sometimes one must find unconventional solutions,” said Captain Michael L., adding that Hermann is “tactically necessary.”
The gentle-eyed grey pack animal has also been a source of amusement for soldiers at a camp made tense by frequent insurgent attacks nearby.
Caring for Hermann has been a “welcome change,” said a lieutenant nicknamed Wolle, or “Wool,” a range control officer who coordinates air support.
“Taking care of the donkey is a lot more fun,” he said, adding that the hardy creature is doing a “good service for our German Fatherland.”
In addition to Hermann, German soldiers have also taken in two stray dogs. The first is a one-eyed puppy they’ve named a sentry post after – Auge Eins, or “Eye One.” The second is an older dog called Keinohrhund, or “No-ear Dog.”
German soldiers stationed in the Kunduz province have repeatedly taken in strays since their NATO mission began there. A few years ago one sergeant was even allowed to take a stray named Chloé back home to Germany to live with his family in Dresden.