German military mission to Afghanistan cut short after Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan don’t give overflight clearance

German military mission to Afghanistan cut short after Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan don’t give overflight clearance
# 27 August 2009 07:58 (UTC +04:00)
In July German Bundestag voted for the deployment of German soldiers to serve aboard NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) surveillance aircrafts which are fitted with long-range radar allowing them to detect other aircraft and prevent mid-air collisions in order to provide air space control over Afghanistan.

However, unlike the German Air Force Tornado jets operating in support of the Afghan mission, AWACS offers a real-time imagery capability, and therefore could theoretically direct combat operations.

The aircrafts were in Konya of Turkey for three weeks, but have since returned to Germany (NATO Air Base, Geilenkirchen) after clearance to fly over Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan en route to Afghanistan was refused, Thomas Raabe, a defence ministry spokesman, said in Berlin.

"The ball is now in NATO’s court," said Raabe, adding: "NATO is negotiating with (these) two countries.

The aim had been to bolster the NATO mission in Afghanistan by improving military and civil air security.

Meanwhile, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that NATO is negotiating with the United Arab Emirates amid looking for alternative routes.
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