Military-Political Peculiarities of Germany’s Participation in Resolute Support Operation, 2015-2021

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Abstract

The Afghan direction is rather important for German foreign policy, given the scale and duration (nearly two decades) of German military presence in this Central Asian country. It remains to continue one of the directions of Bundeswehr’s usage outside the NATO zone of responsibility. The article tries to explore the specifics of the German military and political-diplomatic tools used in the course of Resolute Support operation. The key research methods are comparative and event-analysis. The paper evaluates the characteristics and the results of the German participation in ISAF activity by the mid-2010s. In this regard it is shown that to a large extent the efforts of the Bundeswehr contingent in “Resolute Support” were aimed at completing unfinished tasks during the ISAF mission. The new (since 2015) tasks of the German military personal, their determinism, and the peculiarities of their implementation are defined. The article traces the ascending dynamics of the German military presence in Afghanistan. In comparison with Syria and Iraq, taking into account the scale of threats projected from their territory to the Euro-Atlantic community in the mid-2010s, the peculiarities of forms and amounts of the Bundeswehr’s use in Afghanistan are demonstrated. The author examines Berlin’s attempts to maintain its military presence in Afghanistan in conditions when US President Trump’s administration and the Taliban (banned in Russia) signed an agreement on the withdrawal of US troops on February 29, 2020. The range of factors that could affect the revision of the White House’s position in the second half of 2020 and early 2021 is defined. During this period, Germany has been trying to keep its military presence in Afghanistan. But after the final decision of the Biden administration on the withdrawal of troops, official Berlin was forced to accelerate the evacuation of its contingent (by July 1, 2021), which largely crossed out the previously declared results of the strategy in Afghanistan. The article concludes by presenting the consequences of the military drawdown in Afghanistan for the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany as a whole.

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Table 1. Germany’s contribution to the Resolute Support Operation 

Period

Expenses (distribution by calendar years within the term), mln euros

Maximum contingent (military), person

Bundestag document

January 1, 2015 — December 31, 2015

282,1

850

Drucksache 18/3246, 19.11.2014

January 1, 2016 — December 31, 2016

245,3

980

Drucksache 18/6743, 18.11.2015

January 1, 2017 — December 31, 2017

269,2

980

Drucksache 18/10347, 16.11.2016

January 1, 2018 — March 31, 2018

78,7

980

Drucksache 19/21, 25.10.2017

April 1, 2018 — March 31, 2019

315,3

(236,5+78,8)

1 300

Drucksache 19/1094, 07.03.2018

April 1, 2019 — March 31, 2020

360,9

(270,7+90,2)

1 300

Drucksache 19/7726, 13.02.2019

April 1, 2020 — March 31, 2021

427,5

(320,6+106,9)

1 300

Drucksache 19/17287, 19.02.2020

 Source: compiled by the author in accordance with: Antrag der Bundesregierung. Entsendung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support Mission // Deutscher Bundestag, 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 18/3246, 19.11.2014. S. 5; Antrag der Bundesregierung. Fortsetzung der Beteiligung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support // Deutscher Bundestag, 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 18/6743, 18.11.2015. S. 4; Antrag der Bundesregierung. Fortsetzung der Beteiligung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support // Deutscher Bundestag, 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 18/10347, 16.11.2016. S. 4; Antrag der Bundesregierung. Fortsetzung der Beteiligung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support // Deutscher Bundestag, 19. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 19/21, 25.10.2017. S. 4; Antrag der Bundesregierung. Fortsetzung der Beteiligung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support // Deutscher Bundestag, 19. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 19/1094, 07.03.2018. S. 4; Antrag der Bundesregierung. Fortsetzung der Beteiligung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support // Deutscher Bundestag, 19. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 19/7726, 13.02.2019. S. 4; Antrag der Bundesregierung. Fortsetzung der Beteiligung bewaffneter deutscher Streitkräfte am NATO-geführten Einsatz Resolute Support // Deutscher Bundestag, 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 19/17287, 19.02.2020. S. 4—5.

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About the authors

Philipp Olegovich Trunov

Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INION RAS)

Author for correspondence.
Email: 1trunov@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7092-4864

PhD in Political Sciences, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Europe and America, INION RAS

Moscow, Russian Federation

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