2012 Is First Year With No German Deaths In Afghanistan

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Last year was the first since the deployment of the Bundeswehr to Afghanistan in 2003 that no German troops died in the war-torn country. The 53rd German soldier died in Afghanistan on 2 June 2011 when the Marder armored infantry fighting vehicle he was riding was blown up by an improvised explosive device.

Pfeffer (photo: Bundeswehr/Wilke)

In an interview with the Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), the German press agency, The commander of the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF's) Regional Command North, Bundeswehr Maj.Gen. Erich Pfeffer, attributed the good news to the increasing capabilities of the Afghan national security forces (ANSF), which "step by step and successfully took over responsibility for the planning and execution of security tasks." On New Year's Eve, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s announcement that the ANSF will take over responsibility from ISAF for a fourth group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts, taking the security lead for 87 per cent of the Afghan population and 23 of the 34 Afghan provinces.

Pfeffer did however admit that improvements are still required in cooperation between the Afghan army and police and "in all areas of logistics and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure."

DPA reported that parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Hellmut Königshaus, expects at least 1,000 German troops to remain in Afghanistan after the end of the ISAF mission in 2014 and that the planned follow-on training mission will have enough protection starting in 2015, for which he did not rule out Tiger combat helicopters remaining in country.

Other factors which have been cited for the Bundeswehr not suffering any deaths in Afghanistan since mid-2011 are better equipment, special forces operations against the Taliban leadership, and the Taliban preserving its strength for after 2014.

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