Berlin: The Defence Minister of Germany,
the third biggest contributor of foreign troops in
Afghanistan, offered spirited backing for US General Stanley
McChrystal on Wednesday as he fights to keep his job.
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told German public
television that McChrystal as the US commander of NATO forces
in Afghanistan assured stability in the ranks at a critical
"I have extraordinary respect for General McChrystal,
we work exceedingly well together," he said. "He is a
guarantor of the new strategy in Afghanistan."
Zu Guttenberg said it was to be a "very tough summer"
for the NATO-run International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF) and that the alliance needed steady leadership during a
potentially exceedingly bloody period.
"That is why it is important for us to have stability
within NATO structures," he said.
Zu Guttenberg declined to comment directly on whether
McChrystal should be fired over disparaging remarks he made
about top officials in US President Barack Obama`s
administration in a magazine interview.
"That is an American decision," he said. "But I
respect him immensely."
Germany has about 4,400 troops serving with ISAF, the
third largest contingent after the United States and Britain.
McChrystal, 57, has been summoned to the White House
to explain the article in which he and senior aides criticised
and mocked top officials, including commander-in-chief Obama.