German Tornados arrive in Afghanistan

5th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 April 2007, Kabul/Berlin (dpa) - Six German warplanes arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday as part of a mission to provide aerial reconnaissance for NATO-led troops fighting the Taliban. The Tornado jets touched down within minutes of each other at their base in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, a spokesman for the German armed forces said in Berlin. The warplanes are due to come under the command of NATO next Monday and begin their surveillance missions over southern Afghanistan on April 15. The planes

5 April 2007

Kabul/Berlin (dpa) - Six German warplanes arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday as part of a mission to provide aerial reconnaissance for NATO-led troops fighting the Taliban.

The Tornado jets touched down within minutes of each other at their base in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, a spokesman for the German armed forces said in Berlin.

The warplanes are due to come under the command of NATO next Monday and begin their surveillance missions over southern Afghanistan on April 15.

The planes will collect information for International Security Assistance Force ground troops fighting remnants of the ousted Taliban.

The six warplanes left Jagel air base in northern Germany on Monday, making overnight stops in Italy and the United Arab Emirates before arriving in Afghanistan.

The Tornados are equipped with two optical cameras and an infra-red sensor that can detect tiny differences in temperature. To ward off the threat of hand-held surface-to-air missiles, they have the capability to discharge decoy targets.

The government in Berlin had come under pressure from its NATO allies to extend its mission in Afghanistan, where 3,000 German troops are engaged in infrastructure projects with mixed military and civilian Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

But the deployment caused controversy in Germany amid fears the planes could be drawn into combat operations, although this was ruled out by parliament when it approved sending the planes last month.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said the warplanes would be used to "secure peace" in the war-torn country.

   "We are very grateful to Germany," Dadfar Spanta told German broadcaster ARD in New Delhi. "It is a good decision for Germany and for Afghanistan."

   To protect the lives "of Afghans, of German civilians and soldiers" we must clean up movements of terrorists, he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article