JS-Magazin, February 2014
Two German authors, Thomas Wiegold and JS' Felix Ehring, have looked at how German soldiers are prepared for their term in Afghanistan. Their findings are rather shocking: German soldiers, particularly the lower ranks, are supposed to be prepared in knowledge about the country and "inter-cultural competence", including 20 hours (only!) of theory plus practical exercises like role plays. There are offers for additional training but on a volutntary basis, and soldiers don't have time for it during their intensive military preparation. The authors conclude: "In practice, [this training] sometimes is shorter". One soldier says they had just listened to one lecture (1 h) on international law, another one said "not much stuck of it" and a third one called the training "superficial".
AAN's Thomas Ruttig is quoted in this article, demanding that knowledge about the country is essential because it produces understanding of the population. He said he knew from conversation with soldiers that many of them see "potental enemies in all Afghans" and that better training could avoid producing such "black-and-white stereotypes". But it is rather late in the process, German combat troops withdrawing by the end of the year.
This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020