German Tornados begin operations in Afghanistan

15th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

16 April 2007, Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan (dpa) - German reconnaissance Tornado jets began a controversial mission in Afghanistan Sunday, flying their first mission in support of NATO-led forces fighting the Taliban in the south of the country. German military spokesman Hartmut Beilmann said two of the six aircraft based at Camp Marmal near Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan had participated in the mission. Beilmann said take-off had gone without a hitch. The mission took off hours after a rocket-prop

16 April 2007

Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan (dpa) - German reconnaissance Tornado jets began a controversial mission in Afghanistan Sunday, flying their first mission in support of NATO-led forces fighting the Taliban in the south of the country.

German military spokesman Hartmut Beilmann said two of the six aircraft based at Camp Marmal near Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan had participated in the mission.

Beilmann said take-off had gone without a hitch.

The mission took off hours after a rocket-propelled grenade attack near another German base at Feisabad.

Two grenades had been fired shortly before midnight Saturday, a spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Berlin Sunday.

There were no casualties, although shrapnel fragments had been found on the base. It was not immediately clear what the target had been.

The window of a a military vehicle had been broken and it remained unclear where the projectiles had hit. Investigations were continuing.

The Tornados, which arrived in Afghanistan on April 5, each carry two hi-tech optical cameras along with an infra-red sensor in a pod slung below the fuselage.

Their mission is to spy out Taliban positions in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan, where British, Canadian and Dutch troops are deployed.

Under the terms of their six-month mission, they will not fly low- level sorties and will not be used to strike at Taliban positions.

Some 200 air force personnel are stationed at Camp Marmal where half the 3,000-strong German military contingent in Afghanistan is based.

The mission is controversial in Germany. A recent survey showed 74 per cent feared it could trigger terrorist attacks in Germany.

There are also fears that German forces could increasingly become drawn into combat operations.

Most of the German troops in Afghanistan are engaged in infrastructure projects with mixed military and civilian provincial reconstruction teams in the relatively peaceful north of the country.

NATO-led forces are engaged in an offensive against the Taliban, which claims to have thousands of suicide bombers across Afghanistan.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article