Sunday, August 29, 2021
"Afghanistan was Merkel's war"
Sobered, the German-language newspapers comment on the end of the German campaign in Afghanistan. The verdicts on the Bundeswehr mission range from "we have overstretched ourselves" to "operational and reliable." "Süddeutsche Zeitung": Not over yet. "The war for a better Afghanistan was lost not only in these days and not only in Kabul, but endlessly before. It is up to everyone to review the political decisions and take humanitarian responsibility," reads the "Süddeutsche Zeitung." "Darmstädter Echo": Germany has overstretched itself in the Hindu Kush "With the project of making Afghanistan a better country, we have overstretched ourselves. Why this is so must be discussed intensively in the coming months and years. So that a second Afghanistan doesn't happen to us." "Mitteldeutsche Zeitung": More honesty in the debates about the Bundeswehr. "Why were neither the Afghans nor the Germans told in no uncertain terms from the very beginning that Afghanistan is about hard-nosed security interests of the West?" asks the "Mitteldeutsche Zeitung" from Halle and sums up: "Instead, many acted as if they wanted to create a model country in Central Asia. Now Russia and China are the geopolitical winners - because the USA and the EU did not want to admit to geopolitics. Germany also needs more honesty in the domestic debates about the Bundeswehr. Those who complain about technical deficiencies, for example, must not demand a reduction in the defense budget the next moment." "Stuttgarter Zeitung": "Saved what could be saved" "The Bundeswehr has proven that it is operational and reliable even under difficult conditions. The interaction with other nations, tested over years in Afghanistan not least with the Americans, has also worked in an extreme pressure situation. Looking at the overall situation beyond the evacuation mission, on the other hand, we have to come to a much more sober, negative conclusion. In a politically shameful situation, the Bundeswehr saved what could be saved from Germany's reputation in the world," summarizes the Stuttgarter Zeitung. Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "Afghanistan was Merkel's war". "The West's Afghanistan mission lasted twenty years," writes the NZZ, "sixteen of which were governed by Angela Merkel. During this time, four American presidents and four German defense ministers held office. They came and went, only the chancellor stayed. Afghanistan was Merkel's war. However, one cannot claim that she was ever interested in it. The fact that she visited the German troops in the country for the last time in 2013 is the least indication of indifference.