Germans consume 990,000 liters of beer in Afghanistan

It’s commonly known that vast quantities of vice leave Afghanistan’s borders each year, but German forces are fighting back. Media reports show that German military bases in the country received shipments of more than a million liters of alcoholic beverages last year. That included 990,000 liters of beer and 69,000 liters of wine. If all ...

591508_081114_germantroops2.jpg
591508_081114_germantroops2.jpg

It's commonly known that vast quantities of vice leave Afghanistan's borders each year, but German forces are fighting back. Media reports show that German military bases in the country received shipments of more than a million liters of alcoholic beverages last year. That included 990,000 liters of beer and 69,000 liters of wine. If all of this were consumed only by the 3,600 German troops stationed in Afghanistan, that would come out to 275 liters of beer per soldier.

Back in the Fatherland, the opposition Free Democrats party, which requested these figures from the military, seized on the revelation as a sign that more must be done to relieve the boredom of German troops. But the Defense Ministry shrugged these concerns off, saying troops were "well within" the two-cans-per day limit. The ministry added that the drinks, which are for purchase, are also consumed by German police, journalists, and diplomats. Even Foreign Minister Franz Walter Steinmeier likes to kick back a cold one when he's in country. "When he visits Afghanistan occasionally one or two cans of beer will be downed," said one Foreign Ministry spokesman.

If President-elect Obama pressures Germany into sending its troops south to fight the Taliban, maybe they'll have fewer chances to tank up. But so long as Chancellor Angela Merkel adamantly refuses to let this happen, I say "Prost!"

It’s commonly known that vast quantities of vice leave Afghanistan’s borders each year, but German forces are fighting back. Media reports show that German military bases in the country received shipments of more than a million liters of alcoholic beverages last year. That included 990,000 liters of beer and 69,000 liters of wine. If all of this were consumed only by the 3,600 German troops stationed in Afghanistan, that would come out to 275 liters of beer per soldier.

Back in the Fatherland, the opposition Free Democrats party, which requested these figures from the military, seized on the revelation as a sign that more must be done to relieve the boredom of German troops. But the Defense Ministry shrugged these concerns off, saying troops were “well within” the two-cans-per day limit. The ministry added that the drinks, which are for purchase, are also consumed by German police, journalists, and diplomats. Even Foreign Minister Franz Walter Steinmeier likes to kick back a cold one when he’s in country. “When he visits Afghanistan occasionally one or two cans of beer will be downed,” said one Foreign Ministry spokesman.

If President-elect Obama pressures Germany into sending its troops south to fight the Taliban, maybe they’ll have fewer chances to tank up. But so long as Chancellor Angela Merkel adamantly refuses to let this happen, I say “Prost!”

Photo: MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images

Jerome Chen is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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