As the U.S. presidental election in 2008 and the German parliamentary election in 2009 loom large on the horizon, the topic of Afghanistan and the joint ISAF mission in the country is in the public discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. The U.S. finds itself overstreched in resources—both military and economic—and engaged in two complex wars. While the unpopular Iraq War is the focus of much debate, the conflict in Afghanistan continues, with successes and setbacks, for the United States and its NATO partners…

In the run-up to the NATO summit meeting in Bucharest in early April, the Bush administration has launched an intensive diplomatic campaign to convince the European allies to send additional combat troops to southern Afghanistan. This is largely to overcome the troop shortfalls facing the alliance in fighting the Taliban insurgency and to increase the allies’ operational flexibility…