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Viewing cable 10BERLIN138, MAXIMIZING GERMANY'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRAINING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10BERLIN138 2010-02-01 10:10 2011-01-25 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
VZCZCXRO2850
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHRL #0138/01 0321034
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 011034Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6432
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1737
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 000138 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR SECRETARY CLINTON 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2020 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS NATO GM AF
SUBJECT: MAXIMIZING GERMANY'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRAINING 
OF AFGHAN NATIONAL SECURITY ...


246466

2010-02-01

10BERLIN138

Embassy Berlin

CONFIDENTIAL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 000138
SIPDIS FOR SECRETARY CLINTON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2020

TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS NATO GM AF

SUBJECT: MAXIMIZING GERMANY'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRAINING OF AFGHAN NATIONAL SECURITY FORCES
Classified By: AMBASSADOR PHILIP D. MURPHY. REASONS: 1.4 (B) AND (D).

Dear Madam Secretary,
(SBU) I have just returned from a five-day trip to northern
Afghanistan and Kabul at the invitation of the German Armed
Forces and wanted to share with you some of my impressions.
(C) First and foremost, I came away deeply impressed with the
dedication, professionalism and competence of the German
soldiers I met in Afghanistan. Without exception, all of
them strongly believe in GEN McChrystal's counterinsurgency
strategy and see its emphasis on protection of the population
and partnering with Afghan security forces as absolutely
the right way ahead. While the U.S. and German militaries
might have had their differences in the past about the right
strategy in Afghanistan, that is no longer the case today.
(C) The Bundeswehr will probably never be able to do
partnering at the ratio and intensity that U.S. forces do,
but as the German commander for Region North assured me, it
is ready to deploy beefed-up embedded mentoring teams to
operate in the field with the Afghan National Army (ANA).
The Bundeswehr has made great strides over the past couple of
years, eliminating many of its previous caveats and becoming
more offensively-minded. Its command of the quick reaction
force (QRF) for the northern region -- a unit which I had the
pleasure of inspecting during my trip -- has helped
facilitate this process. The current Bundeswehr is a far cry
from the static, defensively oriented territorial army of 20
years ago.
(C) Chancellor Merkel's January 26 announcement that she
would seek only a 500-troop increase in the German contingent
(along with an additional 350-troop reserve) was
disappointing. The decision to go with a much lower number
(Defense Minster zu Guttenberg had recommended an increase of
1,500 troops) was driven by the Chancellor's desire to
maintain broad parliamentary support for the ISAF mandate in
the face of overwhelming public opposition to the deployment.
However, we should not write off the Germans as a military
contributor and assume they can only contribute to the new
ISAF strategy by providing garrison trainers. We will hold
them to their commitment to restructure their forces so that
the number of Bundeswehr soldiers training and operating with
the ANA in the field will increase from the current 280 to
1,400. The Afghanistan deployment has been a
transformational process for the Bundeswehr and we should
encourage the continuation of this positive trend. While
recognizing the Germans' perceptions of their limitations, we
must also be careful not to go too far in the other direction
and have overly low expectations of them.
(C) During my talks to German soldiers of all ranks, I was
struck by their frustration about the unwillingness of German
politicians to be honest about the nature of the German
military engagement in northern Afghanistan -- i.e., that it
does not involve just guarding aid workers and digging wells,
but also combat against hard-core insurgents. They
complained that while the Bundeswehr and the Afghanistan
deployment had evolved over time, the politicians remained
stuck in an old mind-set that sees the German public as
simply incapable of accepting German soldiers being involved
in anything but purely defensive military operations. They
thought that support for the mission would actually increase
if the German government were more open and honest about what
was really going on and what was at stake. They pointed out
that while German public opposition to the deployment is high
(60-70% favor immediate withdrawal), it is not deeply felt,
with other issues like the economy and unemployment ranking
much higher on the list of concerns.
(C) My own assessment is that the German public is much more
resilient on this issue than the politicians give them credit
for. Who would have imagined in 2001 that Germany would
still be in Afghanistan eight years later despite the loss of
35 soldiers and police officers? Many would have predicted
that a tragedy like last fall's German-ordered air strike in
Kunduz, in which dozens of innocent Afghan civilians may have
been killed, would have led to angry demonstrations in
Germany, demanding immediate withdrawal of the Bundeswehr.
But in fact, the opposite occurred. Support for the mission
BERLIN 00000138 002 OF 002
actually increased temporarily as most Germans rallied around
the German commander who took the difficult decision to order
the bombing against the two hijacked fuel tankers. While we
obviously must defer to the German government on how to
handle these issues domestically, we should not take at face
value traditional German assertions about the impossibility
of Bundeswehr involvement in military operations.
(C) I was equally impressed with the German civilian police
trainers that I met at the German police training facility in
Mazar-e Sharif, which is being expanded to train up to 600
police at a time. They are extremely competent and
committed. The good news is that the old debate between
Germany and the United States about how to train police is
over. Germany has embraced the U.S. Focused District
Development (FDD) police training program and has plans to
implement it in 50 districts throughout the north by 2012.
Part of Merkel's January 26 announcement included a planned
increase in civilian police trainers from 123 to 200 for FDD
and other bilateral training programs. Unlike military
deployments, sending police trainers requires no
parliamentary mandate and is not politically controversial.
(C) The less good news is that while German police mentoring
teams (PMTs) also include military police, Germany views
police training overall as a purely civilian government
activity that can only be done by active-duty police
officers. As a result, German PMTs cannot include
contractors, operate in conflict areas or partner with Afghan
police in doing operations beyond normal law enforcement.
The further German PMTs move away from German bases, the
higher the requirements will be for Bundeswehr force
protection and medical support, which is already in short
supply. Merkel touts that Germany will train 5,000 Afghan
police per year, but most of that will be garrison training,
not the mentoring and partnering that GEN McChrystal believes
is critical to getting Afghan security forces up to speed
quickly. Even for garrison training, Germany's ability to
send significantly more police officers is limited because
there is no excess capacity within either the Federal Police
or the 16 state police forces to draw from. The program
depends on volunteers who agree to serve even though in most
cases it is not career-enhancing. We continue to push here
in Berlin for the government to find some way to deploy more
police trainers, but this is likely to be a lengthy process.
(C) All the German military leaders and officials I met with
welcomed the planned deployment of a brigade of U.S. police
trainers and a battalion of air assets in the north of
Afghanistan, realizing that both are urgently needed to fill
long-standing shortfalls. The fact that the U.S. forces will
come under the tactical control of the German regional
commander has reassured the Germans that the U.S. has no
intention of taking over the north. As we go forward, we
will want to make sure that all of our actions in the north
are fully coordinated so that we do not inadvertently
undermine Germany's sense of ownership of the region. This
is essential for keeping Germany fully engaged in Afghanistan
and the Bundeswehr on its positive trajectory to becoming a
fully capable, expeditionary force.
(C) Over the next several weeks, in the lead-up to the
Bundestag debate and vote on the government's proposal for a
troop increase, I will be engaging with government ministers,
parliamentarians from all parties and the media to relay the
conclusions of my trip and to underscore the importance of
Germany stepping up its efforts on the training of Afghan
national security forces. As I saw for myself in
Afghanistan, there is a compelling case for the U.S. strategy
and approach and I am confident that, in the end, we will be
able to get a strong and meaningful increase in Germany's
contribution to our common mission.
Murphy