Berlin neglecting forces in Afghanistan

April 23, 2008 at 8:08 AM

BERLIN, April 23 (UPI) -- An official with the German military union accused the government of neglecting troops in Afghanistan by not bolstering German peacekeeping forces.

Bernhard Gertz, the head of the German military union Bundeswehr, called for the deployment of at least 500 troops to add to the 3,200-member peacekeeping force in northern Afghanistan but German Defense Minister Franz Jung opposes the measure, Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.

The mandate for German troops in Afghanistan limits the role to peacekeeping, reconstruction and training operations but Gertz said the number of troops stationed there already is not enough to get the job done.

"We're tired of always having to complain about how far away we are from fulfilling our missions and then having to read government reports about how great everything is going," he said in the Deutsche Welle article.

But Rainer Arnold with the Social Democratic bloc said there is "no chance" parliament would consider deploying additional troops before lawmakers leave for summer recess.

Gertz said German troops wouldn't deploy to southern Afghanistan where the security situation is still fragile.

"The thought that the fight against terror in southern Afghanistan can be won militarily is as realistic as trying to ride a dead horse," he said.

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