NATO’s weak link in Afghanistan

SHAH MARAI/AFP The German army contingent in Afghanistan has studiously avoided conflict. It is stationed in the relatively calm north, and German policymakers have resisted all attempts to have them join the fight against the Taliban in the south. Now, the fight may be coming to the Germans. On Saturday, a suicide bomber struck the ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
601742_070522_germantroops_05.jpg
601742_070522_germantroops_05.jpg

SHAH MARAI/AFP

SHAH MARAI/AFP

The German army contingent in Afghanistan has studiously avoided conflict. It is stationed in the relatively calm north, and German policymakers have resisted all attempts to have them join the fight against the Taliban in the south. Now, the fight may be coming to the Germans. On Saturday, a suicide bomber struck the northern town of Kunduz, killing three German soldiers. The attack set off the expected hand-wringing from the German left:

Oskar Lafontaine, a former SPD chairman who now fronts the far-left Left Party, told the Bild am Sonntag paper Germany should remove its troops from Afghanistan and instead focus on providing development aid to help rebuild the country.

Cooler heads quickly dismissed talk of abandoning the mission, but the Taliban has certainly found a weak link in NATO’s chain. This report suggests that Taliban operatives are setting up shop in Kunduz for further attacks. NATO and the United States should make preventing further attacks there a priority; however limited the German contribution is militarily, it’s critical politically. 

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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