Dangerous missions such as those in Afghanistan or Mali increasingly have lasting consequences for the soldiers of the Bundeswehr. They do not easily dismiss concrete experiences of war and violence.
Berlin (dpa) – More and more soldiers in the Bundeswehr are being treated for mission-related psychological problems. This is apparent from the Defense Ministry’s response to a request from the left-wing parliamentary faction, which the German news agency received and which was initially reported by the editorial network Germany.
According to this information, 602 traumatized soldiers received psychiatric treatment in 2013, up from 1006 in 2019 and 1,116 emergency services in 2020. For the first five months of this year, the ministry gives the number 762.
The number of mental disorders diagnosed for the first time and likely the result of the mission also increased from 274 in 2017 to 301 in 2020. However, in previous years it was several times higher, for example in 2011 with 389 first diagnoses.
The defense expert of the left-wing faction, Matthias Höhn, called on the federal government and the Bundestag to carefully consider the long-term consequences of dangerous missions such as in Afghanistan or Mali. “We need a broad debate in politics and society about how we deal with the increasing number of sick soldiers,” he told the editorial network Germany. Those affected need hearing, visibility and help. “Above all, they have the right that the federal government and the Bundestag carefully consider the purpose of broadcasts abroad.”
The Bundeswehr ended its engagement in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. The soldiers are still on duty in Mali. In June, 12 German soldiers and one Belgian soldier were injured in a suicide attack on a German blue helmet patrol. The Bundeswehr is currently involved in a total of eleven missions abroad.