KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government has announced that today, the cabinet will decide to augment the Bundeswehr troop contingent in Afghanistan. As was already previously announced, the maximum number of German troops deployed in that country will be raised from 980 to 1,300 because of the need to expand the protection of German military instructors. The situation in Afghanistan is, in fact, deteriorating. Even according to US sources, the Afghan government controls only a few more than half of the country's districts. For fear of attacks, soldiers avoid using road vehicles as much as possible. Last year nearly 3,500 civilians were killed in armed hostilities or attacks. After 16 years of occupation, defeating the Taliban seems more distant than ever. Increasing the number of troops is strengthening the western presence, at a time when Moscow is again gaining influence at the Hindu Kush and offering to moderate ceasefire negotiations. more…

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | afghanistanrussische-foederation

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In light of the new buildup of US troops in Afghanistan, experts are warning of a new proxy war between NATO and Russia at the Hindu Kush. As observers unanimously explain, Russia has been able to expand its influence in Afghanistan significantly over the past few years. Moreover, the dismal results of NATO's nearly 16 years of war have seriously damaged the West's reputation in that country. Moscow can now take advantage of this situation and enhance its prestige, according to reports. A former top US intelligence official considers that, Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Afghanistan as "one more hot spot, to exercise his influence" and depict Moscow "as the problem solver and peacemaker." If NATO and Russia ally with divergent forces at the Hindu Kush, it could develop into another proxy war, as in Syria. more…

BERLIN/KABUL | | afghanistan

BERLIN/KABUL (Own report) - Nearly 15 years ago, NATO launched its war on Afghanistan. Under the occupation - with Germany playing a significant role - the economic and social conditions of the country are disastrous and the security situation, desolate. Since 2001, more than 220,000 people have been killed in the war, either as direct victims of combat or indirectly, according to a comprehensive analysis. The security situation in the country has "dramatically deteriorated," affirms the German Bundestag's Defense Commissioner. Today, soldiers must be flown by helicopter from one base to another, because use of the roads is too dangerous, even for armored vehicles. According to the United Nations, the number of refugees has reached 1.1 million, tendency rising. Opium cultivation is still Afghanistan's largest economic sector. By national standards, 39.1 percent of the Afghans are living below the poverty line; 2.7 million are undernourished. The Bundeswehr, however, detects a positive development and recommends "patience and endurance." (This is part 2 of a german-foreign-policy.com series, reporting on consequences of German military interventions over the past two decades, in light of the German government's announcement of plans to increase its "global" - including military - interventions.) more…

KABUL/BERLIN/BAMAKO | | maliafghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN/BAMAKO (Own report) - Berlin is legitimizing German military intervention by alleging it is to combat the causes of fleeing. The Bundeswehr must undertake operations in Mali, "so that people will no longer have to flee the violence and hopelessness," claimed Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, early this week during her visit in Mali's capital Bamako. She is using the current refugee crisis in Germany to arouse sympathy for the Bundeswehr's interventions. However, with its aggressive foreign policy, Germany is actively helping create the causes for people to flee. A prime example is the Federal Republic of Germany's Afghan policy since the 1980s. Together with other western governments, Bonn had exacerbated the Afghan civil war with its support for the Mujahidin. Millions of Afghans had to flee the country and Afghanistan has never recovered from its political, economic, and social devastation. The Bundeswehr's deployment in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 and whose main mission was ended last year, has provoked a new wave of refugees. more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr and the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) are more deeply involved in extra-judicial killings of terror suspects in Afghanistan, than was previously known. According to reports published in the media during the final days of 2014, a German major general, who, today, is one of the defense minister's closest advisors, had insisted in, at least one case, that ISAF "capture or neutralize" a suspect. Contrary to German intelligence agent's false claims, cell phone data, that the BND has been passing on to US services on a regular basis, have been used to locate individuals for killer drone attacks. Extra-judicial killings are largely based on intelligence shared by western countries, including Germany, within the framework of the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a focal point of the BND's global activities. The German government has explicitly declared the assassination of "enemy combatants" - even outside combat zones - to be permissible. more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - Following Afghanistan's presidential elections, threatened violence could barely be averted. According to reports, one of Germany's cooperation partners - Atta Muhammad Noor, the governor of the Balkh Province - was responsible for the repeated threats to storm government buildings, in Kabul, if Abdulla Abdullah, the alleged loser of the elections, is not included in the government. The German Bundeswehr maintains its main military base ("Camp Marmal") in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of the Balkh Province. To prevent unrest, the Bundeswehr is closely cooperating with the warlord Atta, who is accused of serious human rights violations and who uses his power to amass enormous wealth. He is now considered one of Afghanistan's wealthiest men. Strengthened by his cooperation with the West, Atta is planning to extend his regional influence through Abdullah, who will become "Chief Executive Officer" of the new government. Atta, today's warlord ruler of the north of "liberated" Afghanistan, had already been terrorizing the region's population in the 1990s. At the time, widespread fear of the warlords' terror had paved the way for the Taliban to take power. more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy specialists are evaluating and learning the "lessons" of the war in Afghanistan, for application in future interventions. While the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr is still in full swing and debates of a continued Western military presence in Afghanistan are ongoing, the outgoing security policy speaker of the FDP parliamentary group, Elke Hoff, enumerates glaring mistakes made by NATO and its allies in the implementation of their occupation policy. She explains that various measures were failures because the West had simply not found it necessary to take the needed "time and patience," or because sufficient "knowledge and respect for the cultural specifics of the country" have been considered superfluous - in the context of a war with innumerable casualties and the most devastating disruption of the lives of the people in the war zone. Hoff makes improvement suggestions for future wars, which include obtaining a better understanding of the "organization, the density and structures" of local populations - if possible by conducting a "census." Above all, however, cooperation between the military and aid as well as development organizations should be greatly intensified - even before entering into the next war. more…

BERLIN/KABUL | | afghanistan

BERLIN/KABUL (Own report) - Experts on Afghanistan are sharply criticizing the German occupation policy at the Hindu Kush. According to a recently published analysis, in 2003, the German government had deployed the Bundeswehr in Kunduz without thorough knowledge of the highly complex region. Due to a lack of serious investigation into strategic particularities and traditional factional conflicts, the Bundeswehr was insufficiently prepared, when insurgency flared up again in 2008. The author of this analysis, with serious accusations of the German government, is a retired German Bundeswehr officer. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) also raises criticism of the western occupation forces' continued cooperation with militias and local warlords; because this runs counter the establishment of a central government. Considering the decades of Afghan civil war, with its bloody feuding between various militias, this is an alarming warning. Politicians in Berlin are now demanding preparations for the possibility of an escalation of violence in Afghanistan. Preparations should be made for the evacuation of local auxiliary forces, whose lives will be endangered because of their collaboration with the Bundeswehr. more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy experts are warning that a power vacuum could emerge in 2014 in Afghanistan, and that new proxy conflicts between foreign powers could occur. According to a recently published analysis by the government-financed German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), "apprehensions" have emerged that following a withdrawal of the majority of the western occupation troops in about two years, the Taliban will take over control in Kabul and "the country will again be plunged into chaos." Other than powerful NATO members, several of Afghanistan's neighbors also harbor strategic interests in that country, including Pakistan and India, but also China, whose western region could be possibly threatened by Islamist forces at the Hindu Kush. While Washington and Berlin are negotiating the permanent stationing of military units in Afghanistan, human rights organizations are raising grave accusations of the West's influential cooperation partners in the country. They are being accused of having carried out massacres in the period of the 1978 to 2001 Afghan civil wars. Even one of Berlin's most important Afghan allies is said to have been implicated in mass murder. His militia had maintained a "human slaughterhouse" in the vicinity of Mazar-e-Sharif. Even though over the past few years, several mass graves have been found, also in the German occupation zone in northern Afghanistan, the crimes committed on those victims, have never been seriously investigated. more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - Anti-NATO Protests are continuing, following the killing of demonstrators outside of the German army base in Taloqan, Afghanistan. Yesterday, several hundred demonstrators again took to the streets to express their outrage over a nighttime NATO raid. At least 14 demonstrators were shot to death on Wednesday. The Bundeswehr does not rule out a new escalation. The growing number of civilians being killed by NATO forces during military actions has provoked these protests. According to a study by Afghan human rights activists, the number of NATO's civilian casualties has grown to over 500, while the protest movement against the Western occupiers has become stronger. The recent escalation has been provoked by a war strategy that for years has been tolerating civilian casualties. This has also been the case for the Bundeswehr: the German military has taken part in the establishment of hit lists, in night raids and in the preparation for air raids that regularly kill civilians. more…