Mali, Afghanistan, Kosovo – what German soldiers experience during their deployments abroad often accompanies them even after they return home. And the number of people suffering from mental illness is increasing. The AfD sees this as a reason to end the missions.

According to a report, the number of soldiers with mental illnesses in the Bundeswehr mission in West African Mali has more than tripled since 2018. In 2018, 29 cases of mental illness were registered among soldiers deployed in Mali, but in 2022 there were already 101 such cases, as reported by the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” and the Bonn “General-Anzeiger”.

According to the information, a total of 1,115 German servicewomen and men suffer from mental illnesses that have been triggered by deployments abroad and are being treated in a psychiatric ward or by a psychiatric specialist. According to the information, 769 soldiers reported mental illness as a result of the deployment in Afghanistan last year. The Bundeswehr completed its Afghanistan mission at the end of August 2021 with the withdrawal of all western troops from Kabul.

From the KFOR mission in Kosovo, 106 German soldiers were being treated in 2022 for the psychological consequences of the mission. In the “Other Operations” section, a further 139 military personnel reported mental illness last year, as the newspapers from the government’s response also reported. The AfD member of parliament René Springer, who had made the request, told the newspapers that the number of unreported cases of mentally ill soldiers is likely to be much higher. He demands that the German mission in Mali be ended immediately. “Without adequate care, our soldiers have been sent on foreign missions for over two decades, which often have very dubious benefits,” said the MP.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius discussed an earlier withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Mali on Monday. According to previous plans, the Bundeswehr should not withdraw until May 2024. Around 1,100 Bundeswehr men and women are currently deployed in Mali as part of the UN stabilization mission MINUSMA. The mission serves to protect the civilian population in Mali. It is considered to be the Bundeswehr’s most dangerous mission abroad at the moment.

The EU has already put its training mission in the country on hold due to numerous problems in cooperation with the Malian military junta and is now increasingly involved in neighboring Niger. Bundeswehr soldiers are involved in this mission.