Guttenberg says Taliban waging 'war' against international forces
Germany, whose troops levels in Afghanistan have risen to more than 4,300 soldiers, will not shirk from its responsibilities in the country, vowed German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.Berlin -- Taliban forces are waging a "war" against the international community, German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Tuesday, using a word that, until now, was considered taboo in Berlin.
"Our engagement in Afghanistan has for years been a combat operation. But the feeling is -- and not just among our troops -- that the Taliban is waging a war against the soldiers of the international community," zu Guttenberg told Bild daily.
Zu Guttenberg, who was sworn in last week as Germany's new defence minister following a general election in September, recalled that the law defines a war only as a conflict between two nations.
But he added: "Certain traditional choices of words do not really work in the current situation."
"In parts of Afghanistan, there are, without question, conditions that are like a war," he said.
"I can understand any soldier who says, 'There is a war in Afghanistan. It doesn't matter if it is foreign forces or Taliban terrorists who are attacking, wounding and killing me'," said the minister.
Germany, whose troops levels in Afghanistan he said had risen to more than 4,300 soldiers, will not shirk from its responsibilities in the country, the minister vowed.
"One day, the Afghans will have to be able to provide for their own security. Then our military task will have been accomplished," he said.