Germany Goes on the Offensive in Afghanistan


Believe it or not, Germany is getting tough at the Hindu Kush.

The German armed forces are undergoing its biggest operation yet in Afghanistan. The Bundeswehr is supporting the Afghan Army with around 300 members of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in operation “Eagle” against insurgents near Kundus. For the first time, infantry fighting vehicles with heavy firepower have been deployed.

German Army Inspector General Wolfgang Schneiderhan stated in a press conferences that “now is the time to carry out this escalation” because of the upcoming Afghan elections and the increase in attacks against the Bundeswehr. He also announced that the rules of engagement are currently being revised.

While “escalating” is a normal military term, I am still surprised that the most senior German general is using this phrase in a press conference, i.e. in public. It might have been the first time ever since WWII that the military is publicly advocating an escalation.

These changes in policy and language are quite remarkable considering Germany’s history and previous Afghanistan engagement. Some German papers were talking about a “psychological threshold” being crossed in Germany.

Read more about Germany’s new Afghanistan policy on


Joerg Wolf is founder and editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Review (, a blog on transatlantic relations sponsored by the German Fulbright Alumni Association. He currently works as editor-in-chief of the Open Think Tank in Berlin. Joerg studied political science at the Free University of Berlin and worked as a research associate for the International Risk Policy project at the Free University's Center for Transatlantic Foreign and Security Policy. He has been a Fulbright scholar at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Washington DC and has worked for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Cairo and in Berlin.