Germany not fazed by Obama’s Afghanistan criticism


Berlin : The German government said Friday it was not impressed by statements of American Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama who called on European states to boost their efforts in Afghanistan and not rely on the United States and Britain to do the “dirty work” in combating the Taliban.

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Addressing a weekly press briefing, deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said that his country was “aware of its international responsibilities and duties, especially in Afghanistan.”
“We do what we can, we need no change,” he added, while pointing out that Germany was one the main troop providers in Afghanistan.

Steg made clear that Obama had not explicitly mentioned Germany in his criticism but had in general referred to the European military mission in Afghanistan.

The German official reiterated that there were no plans for a change in the Afghanistan mandate like sending German troops to the southern part of the war-stricken country where US and British troops are fighting a revitalized Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgency.

Earlier this month, German politicians expressed outrage over the sending of a “stern” letter by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, calling for the deployment of German forces in southern Afghanistan.

Gates’ eight-page letter demanded 3,200 German soldiers, including combat forces, helicopters and parachutists, to replace US counter-insurgency soldiers later this year to fight Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.

There are 3,500 German deployed in relatively peaceful northern Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).