This is an email I just got: (spelling errors left in. Name withheld)
German Armed Forces in Afghanistan
Germany is one of America’s most important partners in global stabilization and peacekeeping efforts. Since 2002 nearly 100,000 German soldiers and civilians have served in Afghanistan, where Germany has been the third largest contributor to the UN’s ISAF peacekeeping mission.
Germany has been NATO’s lead nation for the stabilization of Afghanistan’s northern region since 2006. But Germany’s engagement is not limited to the North: German reconstruction projects, air transport, and reconnaissance and communication capabilities benefit all of Afghanistan.
In addition, Germany has pledged up to 240 million euros in development aid to Afghanistan for this year. Of that, 65 million euros have been released, Germany.info reported this week.
During a recent visit with German troops in Afghanistan, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that by the end of the year 2014 the full lead for security will be transitioned to Afghanistan. “We are already in the handover phase,” she said.
The internationally agreed withdrawel of ISAF troops from Afghanistan, however, by no means spells the end of Germany’s involvement in promoting peace and security all over the world as a key ally and partner of the United States.
Since 2000, for instance, at least seven terrorist plots were thwarted by German security agencies in close cooperation with US security agencies and other international partners. Germany is one of the sponsors of a 2005 European security treaty which deepened cross-border cooperation, especially on addressing threats from terrorism, organized crime, and illegal migration.
The German and US military are moreover closely coordinated, as shown by the first full integration of a German frigate, the Hessen, into an American aircraft carrier group in the spring of 2010. Due to the success of that mission, follow-up deployments have been planned.
Germany is also home to the largest permanent American force contingent outside the United States with some 51,000 US troops. And Germany is a major contributor to NATO missions across the globe and is the second-largest contributor, with around 15 percent, to NATO’s budget.
So the withdrawel of German troops from Afghanistan does not signal an end to Germany’s commitment to standing shoulder to shoulder with the United States in tackling tommorrow’s toughest geopolitical security challenges.