Germany can not rule out combat role: Struck

6th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 June 2005, BERLIN - In a major reversal, the German government is envisioning a future offensive military role for German troops abroad, in contrast to the strictly defensive role today, according to a report published on Saturday.

6 June 2005

BERLIN - In a major reversal, the German government is envisioning a future offensive military role for German troops abroad, in contrast to the strictly defensive role today, according to a report published on Saturday.

Defence Minister Peter Struck says he can no longer rule out the possibility that German might deploy Bundeswehr troops on combat missions that could entail German battle casualties - for the first time since the end of World War Two 60 years ago, said the report in Focus news magazine.

"It cannot be ruled out that we might lose soldiers in such assignments, not only owing to accidents or attacks, but also as part of military clashes," he was quoted as saying.

"For those of us born in the shadow of the war, that is an unaccustomed thought, but it is realistic," Struck told Focus.

In the wake of World War Two, divided Germany's military roles were restricted to commitments within Nato for West Germany and, in the case of East Germany, a defensive role under the aegis of the Soviet Union.

Following German unification in 1990, Germany troops were stationed abroad for the first time in the post-war era as KFOR peacekeepers in the Bosnian conflict. In recent years, German peacekeepers have been posted to Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

However, those peacekeeping missions were strictly non-combative in nature. During the two Gulf wars waged by US-led coalitions, Germany provided logistical support for US troops at bases in Germany but sent no combat troops to fight against Saddam Hussein.

DPA

Subject: German news

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