Former German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fisher (R) and Hamid Karzai (L). Photo: Reuters

Germany had no choice but participation in Afghanistan mission, Joschka Fischer says

Former German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, has said that Germany had no choice but to participate in the Afghanistan mission.

Speaking at a parliamentary inquiry on Monday, Fischer said that Germany had no real choice but to participate in the mission to topple the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Fischer, who was in the job at the time, told a parliamentary inquiry that if Germany had not joined the mission, it would have “completely shattered and smashed Germany’s security architecture.”

He said that by participating in the mission, Germany had met its alliance obligations and earned respect as a security power in NATO.

However, Fischer also said that the West had gone into Afghanistan poorly equipped and with no real plan. He pointed to the “rash, overly hasty withdrawal” of NATO forces in 2021 as a major factor in the Taliban’s rapid return to power.

Other former government officials who briefed the inquiry were more critical of the mission. Former Defence Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said that Afghanistan had been a “bitter, but important experience” for the Bundeswehr, but that the mission had failed to achieve its goals.

Former Development Minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, said that the intervention had improved the lives of many women and girls in Afghanistan, but that the gains had been reversed by the Taliban’s return to power.

The parliamentary inquiry is seeking to learn lessons from the Afghanistan mission in order to prevent similar mistakes from being made in the future.

Fifty-nine German soldiers died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.