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Updated: 01-Jun-2004

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

28 May 2004


  • NATO to train Greek forces on chemical and biological warfare for Olympics


  • Turkey to dispatch helicopters, personnel to Afghanistan
  • Germany to send more soldiers to northeast Afghanistan end of June
  • President Karzai enacts rules for Afghan election


  • Defense Minister Struck: photos of torturing KFOR soldiers do not exist


  • According to an AP dispatch, the Defense Ministry said Friday Greek soldiers will travel to the Czech Republic to be trained by a NATO unit in chemical, biological and nuclear warfare so as to effectively counter any attack by such weapons during the Aug. 13-29 Olympics. Two medical units made up of 48 army officers will depart on May 31 for a weeklong training exercise with NATO's Multinational Chemical, Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense Battalion. "The purpose of the trip is to test the personnel in a real nuclear, biological and chemical environment, as they have already completed their necessary training in Greece," the ministry reportedly said in a statement. Greece is seeking also NATO's help with aerial surveillance and sea patrols. About 70,000 police officers and soldiers will patrol Athens and Olympic venues during the games.


  • Ankara’s Anatolia, May 27 reported the Turkish General Staff announced Thursday that three helicopters and 56 flight and maintenance personnel were being sent to Afghanistan to serve with ISAF. “Helicopters which will be used within the scope of ISAF and 56 flight and maintenance personnel will leave for Kabul on May 29,” the General Staff reportedly said in a statement. AFP carries similar information, adding that NATO has also asked Turkey to contribute troops and civilian experts for reconstruction operations in Afghanistan.

  • Die Welt, May 25, reported the Defense Ministry has confirmed that the German government will send soldiers to northeast Afghanistan at the end of June. The task of the soldiers will be to secure reconstruction in Faisabad in the province of Badakhshan. The troop strength will depend on whether other nations will participate, the daily added. It stressed, however, that so far, the search for partners has been unsuccessful. The newspaper explained: “Parliament had approved the dispatch of a maximum of 2,250 soldiers to Afghanistan; 450 are to take part in PRTs. At present there are 11 PRTs, one with German participation in Konduz. Some 240 Bundeswehr soldiers are stationed there currently. NATO wants to establish another five PRTs by the summer. The Germans have volunteered to participate in one. ‘If necessary, we will do that alone,’ the Defense Ministry stated. Thus, a maximum of 210 soldiers is still available until the ceiling is reached.” The newspaper added that the Development Ministry has not yet made a binding statement on the dispatch of civilian helpers. It recalled that a total of 25 civilian workers are currently in Konduz.

  • According to the Daily Telegraph, Afghan President Karzai has enacted a long-awaited law ahead of the September elections and has clinched a power-sharing deal with potential rivals that would cement his position. The newspaper notes that the law coincides with an agreement between Karzai and the Northern Alliance, which sources say, has pledged not to field a candidate against him.


  • Defense Minister Struck told a parliamentary debate Thursday that “according to all results of our investigators to date,” the alleged photos that reportedly show German soldiers in Kosovo involved in torturing do not exist, reported Berlin’s DDP, May 27. “So far, this investigation has not had any result, and I am sure that it will not have any,” Struck was quoted saying and adding: “The Bundeswehr soldiers do not deserve being discredited in such a way.” Deutsche Welle recalled that an article in the tabloid newspaper Bild reported that photos were circulating among soldiers that show some of them in torture scenes. The broadcast quoted Struck accusing the newspaper of careless reporting, which he said was unfair to the soldiers on the ground in Kosovo.


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