Berlin mulls sending crews to Afghanistan:

18th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany is considering sending crews to man NATO surveillance planes in Afghanistan to free up alliance resources for military action against Libya, ruling coalition sources told AFP Friday.

Germany abstained on a United Nations resolution late Thursday paving the way for air strikes.

The deployment of German crews to operate the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes would require parliamentary approval as it would alter Germany's deeply unpopular mission in Afghanistan.

Germany does not currently actively participate in the operation of the AWACS on the ground in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in parliament Friday that a German deployment was a possibility but that a request was first needed from the NATO alliance.

NATO agreed to deploy AWACS, which are fitted with long-range radar allowing them to detect other aircraft and prevent mid-air collisions, to Afghanistan in January.

About 17 countries work together at the AWACS base in Geilenkirchen, western Germany. The United States, Britain and France have their own AWACS.

Germany has ruled out the participation of its troops in international military action against Libya.

© 2011 AFP

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