Or lame, if you prefer. What some are praising as an impressive and welcomed response by Germany, others are clearly less than impressed. Germany will be sending litterally, uh, hundreds of new troops to the northern reaches of Afghanistan in the coming months while US forces in that country will be beefed up another 17,000.
Wasn’t everything supposed to be better after Obama? “The message (from Washington) is that it is a new administration and is prepared to make additional commitments to Afghanistan. But there clearly will be expectations that the allies must do more as well,” US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters the other day. He was basically asking for a few of NATO’s so-called Rapid Response Force (NRF) troops, which have never been used, of course.
And this is Germany’s response to the new message coming out of Washington? Like other European countries who have announced to send additional troops to Afghanistan, Germany will send hundreds, not thousands. And none of them are destined for combat with the Taliban, either.
And to top it off, Germany insists that the NRF should not be used for Afghan duty at all. “The NRF should not be used as a reserve,” German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said. “The NRF has fundamentally different tasks.” Yeah, like being kept on reserve in Europe, I guess, forever.
“US officials have long been frustrated by European reluctance to make new long-term troop commitments to the Afghan mission and Gates said it was unlikely that large increases would be forthcoming anytime soon.“