They came, they saw, then left the Afghan war without a single mission


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice
They came, they saw, then left the Afghan war without a single mission

09 October 2008

By Jerome Starkey in Kabul

GERMANY has admitted its Special Forces have spent three years in Afghanistan without doing a single mission, and are now going to be withdrawn.

More than 100 soldiers from the elite Kommando Spezialkrafte regiment, or KSK, are set to leave the war-torn country after their foreign minister revealed they had never left their bases on an operation.

The KSK troops were originally sent to Afghanistan to lead counter-terrorist operations.

But Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the foreign minister, admitted they had not been deployed "a single time" in the last three years, despite a desperate shortage of Special Forces units in the country.

Troops from Britain's Special Boat Service and the SAS work round the clock, across Afghanistan, alongside US navy Seals and Delta Force, to target terrorists, arrest drug lords and rescue hostages.

The KSK were part of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom, which spearheads the international hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Senior military officials last night blasted the KSK commanders for keeping the troops in camp. One western military official accused Germany of "sitting on the sidelines while the rest of the world fights".

He said: "It's just unbelievable to think there have been 100 highly-trained troops sitting doing nothing for three years, while everyone else has worked their socks off. It's no good sending troops if they don't do anything. They might as well have stayed at home."

Another source said: "It's ludicrous that they would be here and not contributing."

Berlin is under almost constant pressure from the rest of Nato to increase its troop contribution and scrap special national caveats which prevent German troops deploying to volatile parts of the country, like Helmand. Last year it emerged that Norwegian troops, fighting alongside their German allies, were forced to abandon a battle at tea-time because German pilots refused to fly emergency medical helicopters in the dark.

Mr Steinmeier claimed the KSK's inactivity as an excuse to withdraw the Commandos from Afghanistan.

He said: "That's why the KSK element should be taken out of the OEF mandate."

Berlin was set to renew the KSK mission for another year in November, but they are now expected to fly home instead.

A spokesman for Operation Enduring Freedom said: "We don't have enough troops in Afghanistan."

But, he added: "Common sense says if they weren't being used, they won't be missed."

The KSK revelations came as Nato's leading commanders were renewing their calls for more troops.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, agreed to send an extra 1,000 troops to Afghanistan this week, but they will be confined to the north of the country which is relatively safe.

Most of Germany's troops are based in Mazar-e Sharif, at an airbase complete with a series of bars and a nightclub. Nato wants Germany to do more in Afghanistan, but the mission is deeply unpopular with German voters.

Mr Steinmeier told Der Spiegel newspaper: "You cannot just keep piling elements on without taking a critical look at our current responsibilities."


SOME 40 countries contribute troops to the 47,600-strong Nato mission in Afghanistan, led by the United States with some 18,000 troops and Britain with more than 8,000. Germany is the third largest contributor. The US is set to send an extra 14,000 troops to Afghanistan next year, and it has been rumoured there are British plans to send 4,000 more.

It is still British, American, Canadian, Dutch, Australian and Danish soldiers who bear much of the combat weight in the country, alongside the soldiers of the Afghan national army. A recent French deployment led to the death of ten soldiers in a Taleban ambush, leading to widespread calls to withdraw the troops.

Another view:

German Commandos Withdrawn From Afghanistan

October 9, 2008: Germany is pulling its commandos out of Afghanistan. The KSK commandos have been there for most of the last seven years. Many Germans, especially leftist politicians and journalists, have not been happy with that. This has resulted in several unflattering, and largely inaccurate, articles about the KSK in the German media. There was also an investigation of several KSK men, accused of kicking an Afghan prisoner. While the KSK were allowed to fight, they also operated under some restrictions. They generally could not fire at the enemy unless first fired upon. This led to at least one senior Taliban leader getting away from the KSK. The fleeing Taliban honcho was not firing at the pursuing KSK, so the commandos could not take him down.

Germany sent 120 KSK commandos to Afghanistan in late 2001. They were not given their own area of operation, but worked with American special forces and commandos as needed. The KSK commandos are the first German troops to engage in combat since 1945 (not counting some communist East German military advisers who may have had to defend themselves in places like Africa. German peacekeepers in the 1990s Balkans have not had to fight.) KSK's achievement was celebrated in late 2001, when a supply of quality German beer was flown in for the troops.

The KSK were respected by their fellow special operations soldiers, and particularly liked because the Germans were sent beer rations (two cans a day per man). The KSK troops would often share the brew with their fellow commandos, which sometimes resulted in favors in the form of special equipment or intel data. Even with the restrictions, the KSK saw lots of action, but little of it was publicized, lest it generate more criticism back home.
I was in Afghanistan in 02 and there were quite a few NATO troops not going out. The NATO troops I saw spent most of their time drinking and sun tanning. Oh yeah, the Germans ran their Schützenschnur and asked us if we wanted to participate. But then again, 20th Group was doing MFF jumps in K-2 also.
Fucking disgraceful IMO.
Germany should hang it's head in shame, Wehrmacht members surely are, but not for themselves...

Oh how the mighty have fallen...
took over a german team house in Bagram some years back. Pool and remants of some hellacious parties. We didn't get to enjoy it as long as they did.

I feel bad for the KSK soldiers. I don't care what nationality you are, there's a lot of pride that goes with being in SOF. These cats just got pissed on by their own govt on the world stage. "KSK, dinner time!" "Aww, but mom, we're still playing!" "No buts, mister! And what did I tell you about playing with those other boys? You might get hurt. Mama's little angel needs to stay safe." <snickers from other boys>
Irish, I don't think Rav was meaning to contradict him but rather to clarify- or at least that's how I read it.

Anyway, did the Gerrys get ribbons for this? I suppose they'd qualify for overseas service :uhh:
Irish, I don't think Rav was meaning to contradict him but rather to clarify- or at least that's how I read it.

Anyway, did the Gerrys get ribbons for this? I suppose they'd qualify for overseas service :uhh:

K2 is an FOB inUzbekistan..Uzbekistan is not Afghanistan so I think 18C4V would have said Afghanistan if he meant it.Ravage should have worded his post a little better.
Anyway, did the Gerrys get ribbons for this? I suppose they'd qualify for overseas service :uhh:

Yes they'll receive their deployment Medal.

After all its not their fault..After all that's what they train for and you can't blame them for their Governments decision.
After all its not their fault..After all that's what they train for and you can't blame them for their Governments decision.

Yes absolutely!

I've heard many reports that the Germans are top notch Soldiers etc...
Just sucks they aren't allowed to play with the rest of the boys in the sand pit.

Trust me, coming from New Zealand, I know what they are going through...

The last time we really got to play properly was in Vietnam.
You mean the RF at any rate. SAS seem to be having a ball, from the small bits I've heard or read. ;)
The leadoff post about the KFK has gotten me thinking, and ginning up at least one quetion that's in questionable taste: How far up the Bundeswehr/Regierung food chain is it necessary to go, in finding the source(s) of their "Nasstraum"?
After reading this article, I thought back to WW2. Perhaps die Deutche Bundesrepublik was afraid of taking action after WW2. I have nothing to back it up, but I hear from family back in Germany that there were serious restrictions placed upon the German military after the war. Supposedly they could only engage in the War on Terrorism provided they went in jointly with a group like NATO. What makes no sense to me is that these highly trained German soldiers are doing absolutely nothing to fight the War on Terror.
I've had the privilege of working with KSK (partner unit with their Signal/Service guys); good Soldiers and fit for any Army.

If true, it's sad news. I hope there's a piece to this story we're missing. :2c:
GROM had a simmilar problem in '03, when the Polish commanders didn't want to take responsibilety for sending men into harms way, our Tier1 SOF unit had only one type of job: escort EOD techs from thbe Camp and to the Camp....

Fortunatly now they are doing what they are best in - blowing shit up :D (or so I've read on the net)