For the first time since World War Two, Germany will prepare its soldiers for a combat mission.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
The US has asked Germany to mobilize some 3 900 troops to support its military campaign against Afghanistan.
"But we are only talking about mobilization for the time being," said German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The troops are not being deployed yet. Schröder did not disclose any details on the timetable, length or destination of the military assistance.
The US has asked for special forces, medical staff and air transport capacity, as well as a naval detachment. "Fuchs" armored vehicles, equipped for checking terrain for biological and chemical weapons, would also be provided.
Schröder said Washington did not demand any German participation in the US airstrikes. German military would also not be involved in any possible ground fighting in Afghanistan.
Schröder's cabinet is expected to decide on the move on Wednesday. Then the German parliament will vote on the mission. Germany, mindful of its militaristic past, requires that parliament approves any deployment of troops outside the NATO area.