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Surging Afghan dislike of Bundeswehr troops

The Local · 6 Dec 2010, 17:20

Published: 06 Dec 2010 17:20 GMT+01:00

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Nine years after the international deployment in Afghanistan began, approval of the German military has reached an all-time low. Things are particularly bad in the northern Kunduz province, according to the annual poll conducted by German broadcaster ARD along with the BBC, US station ABC and daily newspaper The Washington Post.

Overall, two-thirds of the Afghan participants had a negative opinion of NATO troops. But at 39 percent, the number who approved of attacks on troops in the northern regions overseen by the Germans was well above the national average of 27 percent.

Across the war-torn country, some 41 percent of the poll participants said they had a negative perception of Germany, which has increased its military patrols in the face of increasing attacks in the north in recent months.

In the summer of 2007, some 75 percent of those polled said they had a positive view of Germany, but in 2010 that number dropped to the minority opinion of 46 percent.

Four out of 10 in the north said they felt NATO wasn’t worried about civilian victims and had neglected development work, while just 31 percent (down by 15 points) said German-led forces still had the support of the Afghan people.

“Germany is hardly considered an ally of the people any longer, but almost only as a foreign party to war,” ARD foreign desk editor Arnd Henze said.

“Occasional successes in the fight against the Taliban and rebuilding the Afghan army are pragmatically registered, but German engagement no longer reaches the hearts and minds of the people.”

Despite the difficulties, some 59 percent of Afghans said they believed their country was on the right track. Though this number was down by 11 points from the 2009 poll, it was still up 19 points from 2008 values.

And despite negative views of foreign forces, some 54 percent said they supported the presence of NATO troops.

Bundeswehr brigadier general and ISAF spokesman Josef Blotz told news agency DPA that while there are isolated “hot spots” in Afghanistan, “the country is not in flames.“

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“We have shown that progress is possible. But this progress is still fragile and not yet irreversible,” he said, adding that international troops would not allow the Taliban to pressure them over the winter.

The sixth annual poll by the four news outlets questioned 1,691 representative Afghans in all 34 of the country’s provinces in November.

DPA/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:24 December 6, 2010 by Major B
Alright first response rejected so will soften it up. The real culprit behind this is weak Afghan government control in Northern Afghanistan. They started with peace, have received major assistance in police training, roads, bridges and schools. They have had time to secure that area where there wasn't even conflict in 2002.

Now the Bundeswehr is not as popular with the Afghan population.


The Bundeswehr came with NATO to Afghanistan in a better postion than most of its allies, when it comes to out and out conflict. Germany quickly opted for the relatively peaceful North and troops didn't even have to wear protective gear the first few years. As predicted the Taliban started shifting to the North years later, increasing pressure on the Germans and pulled all kinds of shenanigans to get the Bundeswehr to withdraw.

Gen Petreaus just remarked on "impressive" Bundeswehr operations in Northern Afghanistan. That is along way from the time when its timed efforts in the North were roundly critcized. War is what it is and the Germans finally admitted as much a little over a year ago.

Hopefully we can all get out of this mess soon. What a quagmire, but the

Germans don't have it hard like their allies much further South.

Karzai, what a joke.

Still, Germany could have helped itself much more had it vastly increased its troop presence as requested by NATO years ago. Now we find out that Westerwelle was responsible for that according to Wiki-leaks. Sure this war is unpopular in Germany, same as elsewhere. But Germans do like to win, witness football games.
18:44 December 6, 2010 by DoubleDTown
Yet another time Europeans seem shocked that even though they aren't American they aren't popular in the muslim world.

I've heard reports before where non-U.S. forces say they are so people friendly and blame the Americans' habit of wearing helmets and sunglasses as distancing the people. I can't imagine wearing boony hats and bare eyes makes such a difference, and apparently it doesn't.
18:45 December 6, 2010 by marimay
Witness football games, not wars? ;)
18:50 December 6, 2010 by raandy
Damm good response Major B,,I agree
01:07 December 7, 2010 by ngwanem
i wonder if the war-mongering commentators here would also like gun-toting foreigners to patrol their countries...

don't you people ever get it? leave afghanistan to the afghans.... just as you would like nobody to invade your land to provide their own sense of democracy... nobody likes democracy at the barrel of the rifle
02:00 December 7, 2010 by Frenemy
...ANY sense of democracy would be great! Unfortunately they are incapable of that. This wouldn't even be a problem for most Westerners, but the problem is that we simply cannot allow Afghanistan to turn back into the terrorist sanctuary and training ground it was before 2001).

To be honest I couldn't give a sh!t less about nation-building or spreading democracy, I just don't want some newly converted/disenfranchised youth from down the street flying over to some "school" in Kunar Province (probably unwittingly paid for by the German gov't/DAAD) and then coming back and blowing me up while I'm trying to enjoy my glühwein at the local weihnachtsmarkt).
05:47 December 7, 2010 by Dsar
Exactly why do we care what people who live in mud huts think?
10:02 December 7, 2010 by wenddiver
I'm just glad Germany is helping. No matter what us Gangstas from America be doing, the locals have a hardime making friends. To this day many of them don't know the words to "jump around" yet, o matter how many time we play it.

We offer to go down to the Talliban's hood and jack them up, but they just run away. No fight, like Gandhi or something. Time to tag their mud huts with Kilroy and nuke the cave people who are not on our side.

We have less important things we need to get back to, like winning hearts and minds in NYC.
14:40 December 7, 2010 by Berkshire Lad
Bring the troops home.

The war was a war based on lies. We have illegally invaded 2 sovereign countries, killed and maimed the indigenous population and we wonder why they are not forming a nice, orderly queue to give us freshly cut bunches of flowers.

Im not anti-war, im not a moaning liberal either. But this war in Afghanistan is a disgrace and will lead to absolutely nothing.

Everybody seems to have lost sight of the fact that the man who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks is still doing as he pleases.

If somebody invaded, then occupied your country what would you do? Give the soldiers a nice smile and a wave?
20:04 December 7, 2010 by ReaderX
Were are all of these lies you idiots keep talking about? I

"What I want to know is where are the WikiLeaks documents to prove that 9/11 was an inside job by George Bush and Dick Cheney? Let me ask you liberals: Where are these cables? Where? I mean, if Julian Assange was worth his salt, why didn't he produce that? Produce all this stuff that you kooks believe! Where are the documents that prove Bush intentionally lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to invade the country? Where is the WikiLeaks document -- the State Department cable, whatever -- that Rove leaked Valerie Plame's name to the media? Where's all this good stuff? " Rush Limbaugh

Like the guy or not he's got a point, for years many of you loonies have been trying to claim we are in a war based on lies, yet so far there is absolutely no proof of this. Just pure and simple conjecture from a few arm-chair general wanna-be.

$god forbid one of you loses a family member to these terrorist idiots who you so idolize. Then you'll be all out there talking about go kill them use the bomb etc.
04:20 December 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Reader X --

Scooter Libby was convicted in a federal court for lying to federal agents and obstruction of justice with respect to the outing of Valerie Plame. Bush commuted his prison sentence. That Karl Rove, Cheney and Armitage were involved is undeniable. Maybe you should read the Wilsons' complaint against them filed in US District Court. Or read their books, for that matter. Or any news report that didn't emanate from Fox. As for the war in Iraq being based on lies, if you still don't know that, you are perhaps the only person on earth who doesn't. Quoting Rush Limbaugh about anything only confirms your abject ignorance. Why in the world would WikiLeaks have access to internal White House documents that were not transmitted beyond the White House? Rush Limbaugh is a certifiable moron and a buffoon, and those who take anything he says seriously are mentally challenged.
15:09 December 8, 2010 by ReaderX
Prufrock2010 so when The US went twice to the United Nations to ask to take a vote on further actions against Saddam and Iraq, the whole of this body voted in agreement that Saddam posed a thread to the middle east, and has previously used Chemical weapons, potentially has more and or the capability to make more, and something should be done about it. Yet here you are still trying to blame bush. Maybe it is you who should read a bit more. The quote was just a point. There are many others but this man (Rush's) voice is heard by many. Again stop blaming Bush. Your Messiah Obama has not ended the war there as he promised in his campaign some two years ago. He stated he would have all troops out of Iraq within his first 6 months in office. Yet almost two years later we are still there. He also claimed that He would end the Afghanistan campaign yet we are still there with no end in site. Stop drinking the kool-aid.
00:48 December 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Reader X --

You're actually dumber than I thought possible, which is saying something. You are absolutely clueless about commonly known and universally understood recent history. Even the most die-hard neo-cons no longer try to support the WMD pretext. Next I suppose you're going to tell us that Vietnam was both a just war and a great American victory. You and Rush Limbaugh belong in the same loony bin.
04:53 December 9, 2010 by Amerikan_Kaiser
@ Cynzia..LOL...Classic. And love it when they beat a Brit to the beach chairs.
14:35 December 9, 2010 by DOZ
The Troops aren't there to win a Popularity Contest.
15:04 December 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
If they're not there to win a popularity contest they might as well come home now, because that war is otherwise unwinnable.
10:36 December 10, 2010 by raben
People disliking german soliders, I see no lessons have been learned from WWII.

History repeats itself again, now its Afghanistan, not Poland.

Good luck Germany fighting your new war, better luck this time then in 1940.
13:50 December 10, 2010 by joetke
What's the heck? Definitely european nations have all proved that they ARE AMERICA'S SURROGATES and it's not that wonder german troops are considered as ARMS and LEGS of U.S. secdef Robert Gates! No wonder!

The saddest thing which is as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow, is the death toll among those troops growing over and over FOR NOTHING, NADA, just for the pleasure and cynism of a decaying USA.

But after all, should one cry and pray for the safe return of guys who ALL have chosen to kill kids, women, elders in a country they've got no conflictual relationship at all? No, definitely, SERVED THEM A RIGHT! THE MORE THE BETTER!
18:45 December 10, 2010 by Major B
Too bad the ignorant get to add their slime to this otherwise decent forum, as in the preceding comments.

"History repeating itself", a cretin-like statement.

Germany, the "arms and legs" of the U.S. ? With only 5000 military in Afghanistan out of 170,000 NATO troops, and 120,000 or so of those American? Really?

Will somebody PLeeeassseee let WWII "rest in peace"? The world is concerned about more than that horrible European War.
06:07 December 11, 2010 by alexanderrcm
@joetke "The saddest thing which is as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow, is the death toll among those troops growing over and over FOR NOTHING, NADA, just for the pleasure and cynicism of a decaying USA."

Wait for Europe's 9/11, it will come and the people will cry out, how could it happen? Afghanistan is a hiding place for the Islamic scum of the world. With that said we should clean out the scum and stop wasting time trying to make friends of a people living in the 15th century. It is not for the USA, it is for peace loving people of the world. 9/11 was a Muslim attack on Western civilization pure and simple. Get it?
19:56 December 11, 2010 by tallady
@Jerryz what kind of unsubstantiated crap are you passing out?/,Letter from your brother,,are you sure your brother wasn't smoking the stuff when he wrote this revealing piece of world news?
20:17 December 11, 2010 by raandy
Jerryz, Who are your allies?, Go back to school and learn to write English or make your barely readable ludicrous remarks on a German forum, or is your German the same?
18:59 December 13, 2010 by texray
Your country and mine have expended more than enough young lives and wealth in at attempt to secure Israel. Our troops would serve the US better along our border with Mexico.
01:32 December 15, 2010 by wenddiver
If we can't win their hearts and minds can we at least try nuking them???
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