“We take the protection of our soldiers by adequate equipment and supplies very seriously,” the minister told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The German parliament’s defence commissioner Hellmut Königshaus presented a report this week that suggested that Bundeswehr soldiers in Afghanistan lacked equipment and vital medical provisions, including blood plasma.
The report also listed a shortage of weapons, as well as faults in the water supply and air conditioning in military vehicles.
The commissioner said that temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius had been measured inside Germany’s Marder tanks. De Maizière countered that the air conditioning systems were being repaired.
De Maizière also said that the shortage of blood plasma was down to stringent German medical regulations. “In Germany, blood plasma is only allowed to be conserved for five days,” he said. In other countries, such as the Netherlands, blood plasma can apparently be conserved for up to two years.
“We are in the process of ending such bureaucratic problems,” the minister said.
But de Maizière admitted that the Bundeswehr is forced to rely on US helicopters. “Of course we have to rely on the helicopters of our allies,” he told the paper. “It is, after all, in a joint operation. In the future, some NATO partners will not have certain capacities, and will rely on its allies. That isn’t dependency, but cooperation.”