U.S. and German Troops Begin Joint Exercises in Kuwait
A special German army unit, which arrived in Kuwait last week, has begun a month of training exercises with United States forces already positioned in Kuwait City, a senior Kuwaiti defense source said Monday.
"Nearly 250 German soldiers have arrived and started specialized training exercises on nuclear, biological and chemical warfare with American and Kuwaiti forces," the source conveyed.
The last group of German troops arrived in the Emirate on February 13 for training exercises called, "Iris Gold," the source said, adding that the troops brought with them sophisticated equipment to monitor and detect Nuclear, Biological and Chemical [NBC] attacks.
According to AFP, earlier this month, a German Defense Ministry spokesman said that the training exercises were in preparation for the US-led campaign on terrorism, initially launched in Afghanistan in October 2001.
The majority of the troops will return to Germany by March, while fifty will remain positioned on the Arabian Peninsula, according to Division Commander Juergen Ruwe. The Kuwaiti source added that the German soldiers would stay in the Emirate for a further two months to participate in other maneuvers.
On his part, General Tommy Franks, the Commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said in Kuwait last week that the joint US-German-Kuwaiti training exercises are "not associated with any sort of future activity."
United States President George W. Bush has strongly indicated that Kuwait's neighboring country of Iraq could be the next target in the global war on terror. Last month, he signaled out the country as belonging to an “axis of evil”.
An estimated 2,000 US troops arrived in Kuwait last November, as part of a standard rotation, involving routine joint exercises with Kuwaiti armed forces. Each rotation through Kuwait lasts four to six months in accordance with a defense pact signed with Washington after a US-led coalition expelled Iraqi occupation troops from the Emirate in 1991.
The joint desert maneuvers use heavy equipment, including tanks and artillery, stockpiled at Camp Doha, where at least 3,000 US troops are stationed all year round. (Albawaba.com)
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