German Offensive in Afghanistan

A German soldier holds his weapon as he rides an amoured vehicle on June 3, 2010 in Shir Khan, Afghanistan.

From Michael Phillips, the Wall Street Journal:  The German military, long criticized by its allies as too passive in the face of a growing insurgency, plans to go on the offensive in Taliban strongholds in northern Afghanistan—despite the risk of a political backlash back home.

Acting on instructions from Berlin, senior officers have ordered two 600-man German battalions to team up with Afghan soldiers in the coming months and clear Taliban fighters from districts the insurgents now dominate.

The new German commander of the battalion in Kunduz province expects to begin a series of attacks in October. "This is a new mission," said Lt. Col. Christian von Blumröder, who took command this month. "My orders are to get this done."

For the Germans, shifting to what Col. von Blumröder calls a more "aggressive" posture is politically controversial. Germany’s military presence in Afghanistan, its first major combat mission since World War II, is deeply unpopular among the German public, and Berlin has presented the endeavor as more humanitarian than martial. …

 The new offensive is intended in part to address the declining security situation in the north and to move toward a handover of security tasks to Afghan forces.

The German government informed parliamentarians of the new strategy in April.  (photo: Getty)

Image: getty%208%2011%2010%20Bundeswehr%202.jpg