December 28, 2018
Former German Defense Chief General Harald Kujat has warned that a probable American military withdrawal from Afghanistan may jeopardize German troops and force them to leave.
“If the United States reduces itself to a small contingent in Afghanistan there’s no reason for us to continue the mission anymore,” Kujat told the German Tagesspiegel newspaper on Thursday.
The former head of the Bundeswehr said it was “out of question” for German forces to remain in Afghanistan if they could not be given guaranteed protection and support.
Kujat, however, added that he expected other NATO members to increase contribution to make up for any US troop withdrawal.
Minister of State in the German Foreign Ministry Niels Annen also expressed frustration with the American announcement.
“We have noticed repeatedly that the Trump government does not particularly value close coordination with its allies. We’re currently trying to reach clarity by speaking to our colleagues in Washington and Kabul,” said Annen.
US President Donald Trump reportedly ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000 troops, half of the total number of American forces in the country, from Afghanistan last week.
‘Massive rupture in world order’
Trump’s recent comments about ending the US military presence in the Middle East have also alarmed many German politicians.
German Parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Norbert Rottgen rejected Trump’s statement about America no longer being “the Policeman of the Middle East,” arguing that the US was an “irreplaceable” power in maintaining “world order, stability, balance, and diplomacy.”
Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
The comments were echoed by Deputy Parliamentary Leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who censured Trump’s probable return to what he described as the “failed” American tradition of international “isolationism,” referring to a general trend in US foreign policy predating World War II. “If you think how the US shaped the post-war order after World War II, and was also really the dominating power after the Cold War, then this policy of Donald Trump is really a massive rupture. How far that will go – and it’s important I think to make this clear – is unclear.” Germany has about 1,100 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, most of whom are deployed near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The deployment is part of NATO’s “Resolute Support” mission, which claims to train and advise Afghan security forces. The mission also acts as a reconnaissance and intelligence support arm for other NATO troops. The Bundeswehr’s overseas missions require approval from the German parliament. Parliament approval for the Afghanistan mission is set to expire in March 2019.
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