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Seven missions extended

Where are Germany's soldiers deployed worldwide? What are their tasks? An overview.

Bundeswehr Tornado in action for the mission “Counter Daesh”
Bundeswehr Tornado in action for the mission “Counter Daesh” © dpa

Germany. The Bundeswehr is a parliamentary army. This means that the consent of the representatives of the people is necessary for every armed deployment abroad. Currently there are Bundestag mandates for 13 missions worldwide. Seven of these were extended by the Bundestag at the end of December, initially for only three months. This is a transitional solution, because since the federal election in September 2017 no new coalition government has yet been formed. Nevertheless, partners like NATO, UN and EU expect German support in joint missions. "Germany stands for reliability", said Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen when she was soliciting Bundestag support for extending the missions.

These are the objectives of the seven missions and the tasks undertaken by the Bundeswehr.

Afghanistan: NATO mission “Resolute Support”


  • Objective: reconstruction, stabilization and peacekeeping in Afghanistan. Support in the development of national security structures.
  • Tasks of the Bundeswehr: Advising and training Afghan security forces with a focus on the capital Kabul, securing the military air traffic in Mazar-i Sharif, reconnaissance and aerial photo interpretation, support of humanitarian aid and protection of civilian forces.
  • Number of German soldiers: 980 is the personnel limit of the mandate. Currently there are 885 male and 85 female soldiers in action.

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Mediterranean Sea: NATO mission “Sea Guardian”

  • Objective: to secure the southern flank of NATO by monitoring the Mediterranean with aircraft and ships. Detect and counteract conflicts and terrorist activities, prevent weapons smuggling. If necessary, Sea Guardian supports other missions in the Mediterranean, such as the EU-led EUNAVFOR MED operation “Sophia” directed against smuggling networks.
  •  Tasks of the Bundeswehr: Preparing situation pictures by patrols at sea and AWACS reconnaissance flights, surveillance of suspect ships, sea rescue, leadership and training.
  •  Number of German soldiers: maximum of 650; currently 153 male and 16 female soldiers.

Syria and Iraq: Mission “Counter Daesh”

  • Objective: An international coalition of 60 nations fights the terrorist organization IS (Arabic: Daesh).
  • Tasks of the Bundeswehr: sea and airspace surveillance with Tornadoes, image analysis, air refuelling, escort of the multinational naval task group in the Mediterranean.
  • Number of German soldiers: maximum of 1,200. Currently 179 male and 20 female soldiers.

Mission “Counter Daesh”: German base in Jordan

Iraq: training mission

  • Objective: to strengthen the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight against the ISIS, which has been thrown back in Iraq and Syria but remains a threat.
  • Tasks of the Bundeswehr: Training and advising of Kurdish and Iraqi security forces in the Erbil area, delivery of weapons and military equipment.
  • Number of German soldiers: maximum of 150; currently 132 male and 12 female soldiers.

Mali: UN mission “Minusma”

  • Objective: To stabilize the country following the civil war that broke out after the 2012 coup. Around 13,000 UN soldiers provide peacekeeping and human rights protection, mediation between the parties to the conflict and monitoring of the ceasefire.
  • Tasks of the Bundeswehr: advice, training and leadership, reconnaissance, air transport, air refuelling of aircraft, medical operations, protection of cultural assets, support of EU missions in Mali.
  • Number of German soldiers: Maximum of 1,000; currently 923 male and 43 female soldiers.

Bundeswehr in Mali: “We have been very well received”

Sudan: UN mission “UNAMID”

  • Objective: to protect the civilian population and to support the peace agreement in the conflict between the Sudanese Government and various ethnic groups in the Darfur region of western Sudan concluded in 2006
  • Tasks of the Bundeswehr: Provision of experts for logistics IT systems and technical equipment, transport and medical services.
  • Number of German soldiers: maximum of 50; currently five male and two female soldiers.

Interview: A German soldier in Darfur

South Sudan: UN mission “UNMIS”

  • Objective: To ensure the peaceful coexistence of the states of Sudan and South Sudan, protect the civilian population, provide safe access to humanitarian aid, monitor the status of the ceasefire.
  • Tasks of the Bundeswehr: Advice and training assistance for troop-contributing nations and the UN, situation monitoring.
  • Number of German soldiers: maximum of 50; currently 14.