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Bundestag votes to broaden Afghan mission

The Local · 25 Mar 2011, 13:27

Published: 25 Mar 2011 13:27 GMT+01:00

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Germany will commit up to 300 air force personnel to fly AWACS surveillance planes over Afghanistan. The Bundestag voted overwhelmingly to broaden the military mandate, with 407 MPs in favour of the expansion and 113 against, with 32 abstentions.

Up to 300 German airmen will take part in the mission, which will start by June at the latest. They will serve on NATO airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, which monitor Afghan airspace.

The decision raises Germany's upper limit on the number of troops it has in Afghanistan to 5,350 troops. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government said this will relieve NATO partners for the mission in Libya, to which Germany is not contributing.

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has taken charge of a no-fly zone established over Libya with UN approval to stop Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi's aerial bombardment of rebels and civilians. British and French fighters continued on Friday to pound Libyan military sites.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described the broadening of the Bundeswehr’s contribution in Afghanistan as a necessary step within the NATO alliance. Just because Germany was not helping in Libya “does not mean that we are putting our allies in danger in Libya,” he said.

Taking up some of the slack in Afghanistan was an “common-sense policy for the alliance,” he said.

The move was supported by the centre-right coalition as well as the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) but opposed by the environmentalist Greens and socialist Left party.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, parliamentary leader of the SPD, called the AWACS operation “sensible” but slammed the government’s hastiness. The mandate was rushed through parliament between Wednesday and Friday at a “breakneck speed” that disregarded the views of the parliament, he said.

Story continues below…

The AWACS mandate, like the overall Afghanistan mandate, will run to January 31, 2012. Germany still plans to start drawing down its troops there at the beginning of next year.

DAPD/The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:39 March 25, 2011 by tallady
Why bother with more troops when you are drawing down in 8 or 9 months. Adding troops to the German mission does not free up personnel form other nations there,,and does not placate the Nato members involved in Libya.
16:48 March 25, 2011 by freechoice
why all of the sudden in the interests in joining the crusade in Libya?
17:54 March 25, 2011 by ajcberlin
No Thanks ,,at this point I would not trust the Germans with classified information.
23:58 March 25, 2011 by ngwanem
the trick always works:

Criticize the war in Libya and back up more forces in Afghanistan. the fools in this game are the people who are easily led to EITHER take the red pill OR the blue pill. NO mention is made of a THIRD choice: DO NOT take any of the pills.

I wonder how people will start realizing, they are always the pawns in the grand game of politics and superficial emotion-based reactions don't help: the twist and turns have long been in engineered in the game.

Now, the poor German people can't even complain about troop deployments to Afghanistan, because the Libyan issue shall be used to crucify them.

Well folks, a word of advice: you could still refuse both military interventions and the only harm you would receive would be: You Cowards!

At least "an intelligent coward is still better than a brave fool!"
12:25 March 26, 2011 by michael4096
@ngwanem - there is a difference between Libya and Afghanistan

The decision to intervene in Afghanistan has already been taken - rightly or wrongly. And, with that decision is comes a moral responsibility to not leave the vast majority of the population in a worse state that when you found it - such as with a power vacuum.
17:55 March 27, 2011 by Sastry.M
@ngwanem- A shrewd observation and wise advice. We may well also note that under dictatorship people are victimized to savor the vain gloried vagaries of tyrannical dictator with their mouth shut while under democratic governments they always remain as pawns in the grand game of politics played by multi partied politicians savoring empty promises to confused electorate and wasting taxed public funds to support disastrous policies of dubious interests. Thus democracy only guarantees people freedom to open their mouths wide and allow themselves talk to exhaustion but vesting with no real power to question the veracity of policies pursued nationally or internationally by politicians who sink into oblivion surreptitiously under failure behind curtains of completed term and erect new ones colored to attract people to elect for a fresh term of mandate in continuance with the old cycle.
12:56 March 28, 2011 by Major B
@ professor Sastry.M and I reference professor with respect for the dignity of your writings and the depth of thought you offer.

I actually agree with your criticism of democracy. Add one more idea to your analysis -: the influence of big/coporate business interests on politics in democracies.

But you know, I'll take the many "choices" democracies provide: a much better living standard; the option to WORK HARD and benefit from your labor; the ability to educate yourself, along with many more options avaiable for that.

And of course war is terrible, with resulting horrors, inhumanities and wanton destruction. Thus, military intervention MUST be weighed carefully by powerful nations.

The Taliban government openly supported a terrorist movement that commited atrocities around the globe for years, even to the point of training facilities and free movement. That government thus directly supported the horrendous attacks that took place on 9/11/01.

Please comment on these questions.

Was military action by the country that was attacked justified against the Taliban?

Were countries allied to the attacked nation obligated to honor international treaties and commitments that treat an attack on their allies and an attack on them as well?
17:40 March 28, 2011 by Sastry.M
@Major B,


I gratefully acknowledge your kind reference although my depth of knowledge is far below the recognition bestowed on me.

In my opinion 'democracy' in its truest sense is unprejudiced recognition and acceptance of individual human nature with unbiased self judgment of other people's freedom of choice. Is this ideal truly possible to implement with individual interests and egos setting guidelines in daily human transactions? Certainly the influence of corporate big business interests on politics cannot be ignored in democracies which always support the 'big' qualification because of its inherent freedom of choice and wider application in all fields of human requirements. The reckoning of "Interest" however makes all the difference. If all virtues attributed to democracy are genuinely appreciated and truly implemented the cause of any human misery and abridgment of freedom never arises.

Keeping in view all the horrifying experiences of modern wars graphically narrated in the novel "All quite on the Western Front" by the former German soldier E.M Remarque after WW1 we conclude that in this modern age any hasty action without conducting thorough,logical and unbiased investigations into the causes of any atrocious event would only result in intrigue and never lead to any clear settlement of issue. The 9/11 incident not only concerns a U.S national threat but all international community also and the horrendous attack should have been investigated as said above.

Speaking of justification the interests of democratic virtues have to be weighed against all odds of irrational and destructive actions committed by people of erroneous concepts and malicious convictions. If we protect virtue it protects us in turn. If we protect only self interest it destroys us in consequence because God's auspicious virtues are democratically invested in all creation but destroyed by the greed of self serving interest.
21:07 March 28, 2011 by Major B
@ Sastry.M

Thanks for your response (professor), again stated with respect and appreciation for the "much higher level" of comment you bring to this forum.

As you stated in another post, Germany now finds itself at a "impasse" due to a variety of conflicts. Many including myself, say it is due to weak leadership and faulty reasoning -- especially seasoned and distinguished German former politicians and academics.

No philosopher myself, we must understand that democracy is an ideal, and as with the many other creations of human civilization, it all looks good on paper till humans, with our inferent failings and individualisms, put it into practice. What is "right" for one is "wrong" for the other with each thinking he/she is right. If you have children close in age then I'm sure you understand perfectly what I mean although there are many more apt comparisons.

Yes, "the greed of self serving" interest disrupts much of what we do and could achieve and I will never say that I am above this challenge.

Selp-protection and the protection of one's home and family is a major theme and indeed right in the 3 great religions that originated in the Middle East. Thorough post 9/11/01 analyses by both the U.S. and its allies revealed exactly who the responsible parties were. Thus collective military action was approved, the reason why Germany found itself in its first real(well, almost real) military action since WWII.

I'm sure you agree that the collective civilization we have all achieved should and must be protected against the forces of darkness.
19:07 March 29, 2011 by Sastry.M
@Major B


Many thanks for your kind appreciation of my views and detailed explanation of all democratic difficulties referring to its ideals and problems faced in practical implementations conforming to "right" or "wrong" of individual personal choice.

Discrimination between right or wrong is a highly personalized attribute based on all aspects influencing and programming individual minds and personal experiences. The choice of decision and implementation of anything appeals to democratic principles. Therefore the judgment between two opposites and decision to implement are both democratically left entirely to personal choice.

Democracy is Divine dispensation bestowed only to human minds equipped with faculties of discriminative intellect, logical reasoning and rational choice of actions.

Stating the above the German "impasse" can be attributed all things gone "wrong" with them during recent history and constantly reminded to progeny with museum pamphlets and memorial monuments. This accusation probably undermined their confidence greatly and driven them to resigned complacency. This I presume led to their weak leadership regarding foreign policy decisions because all Germans collectively bear the blot of shame and any bravado ism is viewed with mistrust by general public.

The decision by the U.S and allies to retaliate Taliban terror on its own terrain post 9/11/01 investigations and analyses and U.N approval is justified and the German participation even against internal disapproval my be to gain recognition from Western allies as a united Germany in expectation of exonerating their regrettable past. But the 60'th D Day celebrations in France to which the French President Chirac courteously invited the German veterans was also viewed by other allies as unwarranted extended with half hearted handshakes on occasion.

Collective allied comradeship complying to democratic values is only possible with equal honors bestowed to all participating nations and decision making left to confident individual choice. This in my opinion can put up the best concerted effort and brave fight against dark forces and bring them to the virtue of divine light according to the dictum "Tamasoma Jyothirgamaya".
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