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Fischer says Germany had to help US invade Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL – A German parliamentary inquiry is underway to examine the lessons learned from Germany’s two-decade mission in Afghanistan, which concluded with the rapid resurgence of the Taliban. Joschka Fischer, the former German Foreign Minister in 2001, appeared before the inquiry in Berlin on Monday and emphasized the importance of Germany’s participation in the mission for its standing within NATO.

Fischer asserted that German government at the time had no alternative but to engage in the mission aimed at toppling the Taliban government. He underscored that refusing to participate would have had severe consequences for Germany’s security architecture. Speaking at the inquiry, titled “lessons from Afghanistan,” Fischer was one of four senior government officials who provided insights into the two-decade intervention at the Bundestag.

While three politicians sought to strike a predominantly positive tone despite the unfavorable outcome following the withdrawal of Western troops in 2021, a former spymaster on the panel offered more critical observations. Fischer noted that it became evident early on that Germany had an obligation to fulfill its alliance commitments, particularly since the United States invoked NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense clause, a historical first for the alliance.

Fischer warned that failing to accompany the US in the mission would have resulted in significant consequences within the alliance. He emphasized the importance of taking such consequences seriously, as disregarding them would be akin to risking Germany’s raison d’être and undermining the achievements made since 1949.

Throughout the 20-year deployment, Germany emerged as the second-largest contributor of troops to the Afghan mission, trailing behind the United States. At times, Germany had as many as 5,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. The mission represented the Bundeswehr military’s most extensive and longest-running overseas operation since World War II.

Another participant in the inquiry, Thomas de Maiziere, who later served as the defense minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel, described the Afghan mission as a “bitter, but important experience” for the Bundeswehr. De Maiziere acknowledged the mission’s significant impact on Germany’s military image among its NATO allies, remarking that Germany had earned respect as a security power, a reputation it previously lacked within the alliance.

The ongoing parliamentary inquiry aims to delve into the lessons learned from Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan and examine the implications for Germany’s role in NATO. It seeks to strike a delicate balance between national security considerations, international alliances, and the fulfillment of obligations within the NATO framework. As the inquiry progresses, experts and policymakers anticipate a comprehensive evaluation of Germany’s role in the Afghan mission, providing valuable insights for future military engagements and international partnerships.

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