The German military intends to launch a major offensive against Taliban strongholds in northern Afghanistan, in part to appease NATO allies that have criticized the country for being too passive, the Wall Street Journal reports. But the move could spark a political backlash back in Germany, where the unpopular war has long been portrayed almost as a humanitarian mission.
The German government is hoping the public’s desire to see the war end will temper any outcry. Germany won’t actually be sending any more troops, though it did increase its maximum level in December to 5,350. Instead it’ll break its forces into multiple battalions, sending some on the offensive, and upgrading their capabilities. Until now, German forces have played a background role in the war, constrained by rules that, among other things, forbid them to stray far from their base hospitals.