Germany is somewhat less than enthusiastic about an equal share of the burden in Afghanistan:
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The NATO-led force in Afghanistan would be more effective if member countries lifted restrictions that prevent their troops from fighting insurgents in the country's restive south, a senior Canadian military officer said today.
Many of the 37 troop-contributing countries serving with the 31,000-member force have refused to join the fight against Taliban and other insurgents in the south, leaving the task to Canadian, American, British and Dutch soldiers.
The French, German and Italian forces patrol relatively quiet sectors in the north under self-imposed limitations, known in NATO as "caveats," that keep them out of combat operations.
Brig.-Gen. Tim Grant, in charge of the 2,500 Canadian troops in Afghanistan, said that if the commander of the NATO-led force "had more flexibility in the deployment and the use of all the troops here, I think it would be better for everyone."
"The issue is not necessarily having more troops stationed here on a permanent basis," Grant told The Associated Press in an interview at the sprawling military base at Kandahar Airfield.
"But if there are situations ... when it is important to have different capacities, different capabilities on the ground, that is when (the NATO) commander needs to be able to move troops."
Speaking Friday in Quebec City, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also urged legislators from the alliance's member countries to lean on their governments to remove troop restrictions. He said national caveats are understandable, but ultimately divisive.
At least 289 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion in late 2001 to oust the Taliban regime for hosting Osama bin Laden.
At least 42 Canadians have been killed in the war, including 34 soldiers this year alone. Britain has lost at least 40 soldiers, while the Netherlands has had four deaths. (Source)
Well, dear NATO friends, Germany has an important role to play at the sidelines. German politicians prefer the referee job, you know.
As to others doing the hard work, have a safe trip home!