German military takes over Quick Reaction Force in Afghanistan
German military takes over leadership of Quick Reaction Force in Afghanistan, providing a combat unit for the ISAF for the first time
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan -- The German military took over leadership of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in Afghanistan at a ceremony on Monday in Mazar-i-Sharif in the country's northern Balkh province.
It marks the first time Germany has provided a combat unit under the auspices of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The German QRF comprises 200 soldiers.
At the ceremony, German ISAF regional commander Brigadier General Dieter Dammjacob thanked the previous QRF commander, Norwegian General Kjell Inge Baekken, and his forces.
The most recent operation against the Taliban in north-western Afghanistan was "supported with decisive miliary strength" by the Norwegian-led QRF, Dammjacob said.
In a press conference before the ceremony, Baekken told reporters that the international military engagement in Afghanistan would require another 10 to 15 years.
Meanwhile, two German soldiers were injured in an attack in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, the German military said in Mazar-i-Sharif.
The soldiers received non-life threatening injuries when their armoured vehicle struck a mine while on patrol, the military said in a statement.
German soldiers number 3,620 in Afghanistan. When ISAF deployed in Afghanistan in early 2002, some 850 German troops were in its ranks. Confined at first to Kabul, the German mission was widened to the northern part of the country, where they took command in 2006.