The German forces in ISAF are restricted in their options by political directions. German government politicians want our troops to participate for the sake of foreign policy credit, but they don't want to support real warfare over there. The result are restrictions which prevent an aggressive stance against the armed opposition to the mayor of Kabul and his cronies. The army units there have been reduced to bandogs on a really, really short chain, unable to influence the outside world much. The troops make the best of it and live mostly in their camp, turning it into an acceptable human habitat.
This is mirrored by a disappointing police training effort that's hampered by the fact that German policemen are not really deployable and policing is an almost entirely state, not federal task in Germany.
The smallish military effectiveness that results from this policy has become ever more visible in the last two years. This happened because failures elsewhere in Afghanistan and the redeployment of halfway effective Afghan security forces from the German area of responsibility into the South have allowed the Taliban to return in some strength to the North. The other 'pro-Mayor of Kabul 'armed forces in the country are apparently on the operational and strategic level no more successful, no matter how hard they try.
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The visible low military performance is not representative for conventional warfare, when the PC gloves are off. Yet, it's not a safe assumption that this detail is understood everywhere, for the ISAF engagement also exposed some typical peacetime routine idiocies that reveal how much the army has distanced itself from its fearsome predecessors.
The exposure of peacetime decline in military effectiveness can be (and is) sharp. German military history has a very unsettling example: The Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1807.
The army of Prussia had fought extremely well in 1756-1763 (Seven Years War) against the armies of several much greater powers (France, Austria-Hungary, Russia). The Battle of Leuthen early in that war is one of military history's finest oblique order battle tactics examples and showed off the great standard of Prussian training and discipline of that time.
Half a century later - after almost no hot conflicts - the very same Prussian army was defeated in the parallel battles of Jena and Auerstedt by the Napoleonic French army. Logistical failures, tactical failures, training failures and a lack of innovation had caused a great defeat and almost ended the history of Prussia itself.
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I conclude that the ISAF mission exposes weaknesses of the Heer and - even more important - gives many people the impression of it being much less effective than it really would be in conventional warfare.
This is a serious problem, not the least because it means that the mission has probably a net damaging effect on the constitutional mission of the Bundeswehr:
Article 87aArmed Forces(1) The Federation shall establish Armed Forces for purposes of defence. Their numerical strength and general organisational structure must be shown in the budget.(2) Apart from defence, the Armed Forces may be employed only to the extent expressly permitted by this Basic Law.
The "purpose of defence" is first and foremost about deterrence, and deterrence depends on the impression of military effectiveness which you make on others.
I'll add this to the long list of contra-ISAF arguments, maybe I'll sometime find a viable argument for the pro-ISAF argument list, too.