From Judy Dempsey, the New York TImes: In a bid to placate its allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel won support from her cabinet on Wednesday to send up to 300 more troops to Afghanistan where they would carry out Airborne Warning and Control System operations over the country.

Germany already has 4,700 troops serving in Afghanistan, despite the growing unpopularity the war. “We want to relieve the strain on NATO by putting our German troops back into planes over there,” [German Defense Minister Thomas] de Maizière said.

"This would be a genuine relief for NATO and a political sign of our solidarity with our allies, particularly against the backdrop of recent events in Libya."

From DPA:  "The AWACS-deployment is an expression of our solidarity with the alliance," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told parliament.

From AFP:  Some 17 countries are participating in the AWACS base, based in Geilenkirchen, in western Germany.

The cabinet’s decision has to be approved in parliament, probably on Friday.

From Spiegel: Just last December, Merkel’s administration had sought to prevent US General David Petraeus, the top commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, from requesting German assistance in aerial surveillance of Afghanistan’s airspace for fear of having to reject the request.  (photo: the Local)