November 19, 2007


UK PAPER ACCUSES GERMANS OF FLEEING THE BATTLEFIELD: A British newspaper on Sunday claimed that a German medical team in Afghanistan left the battlefield in order to get back to the base by sundown. German helicopters, the article claims, can't fly at night. But the Bundeswehr is denying the report. (DEr Spiegel, 11/19/07)

Germany has long been a favorite foil in discussions about what more the West can do to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Bundeswehr, it has often been said, studiously avoids hot spots in the southern part of the country -- preferring instead to concentrate on popular reconstruction projects in the relatively peaceful north. A year ago, German troops were accused of having indirectly contributed to the deaths of 12 Canadians by not reacting to their plea for help.

On Sunday, the Germans received a new accusation to add to the growing collection. The British paper Sunday Times has charged the Germans with leaving the battlefield in the late afternoon in order to return to base by nightfall. The article, under the snarky headline "For us ze war is over by tea time, ja," indicates that German helicopters can't fly at night.

"It's hopeless. We were attacking the bad guys, then (at) three or four o'clock, the helicopters are leaving," the paper quotes an unidentified Norwegian cavalry officer as saying. "We had to go back to base. We should have had Norwegian helicopters. At least they can fly at night."

The Western allies, the story claims, were forced to retreat as were 600 fighters from the Afghan army because of the withdrawal of a German medical evacuation team. German troops, the article makes clear "spend much of their time in an enormous base, complete with beer halls and nightclubs."

...when the French start acting like Brits and the Germans like the French.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2007 6:28 AM

Make-believe armed forces for make-believe sovereigns.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 19, 2007 3:09 PM

You realy should quoted a bit more of the article. Even the Norwegians are denying this claim.

The Times has written it in the spirit of 'well, it could have happened like this'.

It does pay to read beyond the first two paragraphs:

German mission command, located in Potsdam just outside of Berlin, denies the accusations. A spokesman there told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Sunday that of course German medevac helicopters can fly at night -- they are equipped to do so and they fly night missions regularly. The spokesman also said that there has been no complaint registered by the Norwegians about the alleged incident and said that occasionally helicopters can't fly because of the weather or due to sand storms.
Posted by: Ralf Goergens at November 19, 2007 5:04 PM
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